Don’t Stress – Stretch!April 26, 2012
By Lisa Payne
You know you should. But with your busy schedule maybe stretching takes a backseat after a killer workout. Here’s what you need to know about stretching and why it’s just as important as your calorie torching workouts.
#1 There’s More Than One Way To Stretch
You don’t always have to do light stretching on the mat. Taking a Vinyasa yoga takes you through a series of movements that open, lengthen and strengthen your body limb-to-limb. Or, try a foam roller to work out stubborn muscle tissue knots. And, you can always use a yoga strap to stretch overly tight hamstrings and a ProStretch for tight calves!
#2 Stretch Your WHOLE Body
Like the tune, “Your thigh bone is connected to your hip bone…” your muscles are also all connected. The connective tissue fascia links muscle groups together. So, even though your low back may be tight, stretch your hip flexors, hamstrings, obliques, chest and back. Your low back could be tight for a number of reasons. One example might be that you sit at your desk with rounded shoulders and an anterior pelvic tilt. This can shorten chest and hip flexor muscles and tighten your low back. Stay on the safe side and stretch all of your moving parts!
#3 Stretching in Your Class’s Cool-Down is Not Enough
There’s a cool-down and stretch in class so that must be all you need, right? Class stretches are developed for the general population and only stretch the muscles momentarily. If you workout often, you need to stretch every day-even on your off days! Take ten minutes out of your day to hit the mat. Doing an extended stretch will lessen your risk of injury, allow lactic acid to leave the body and keep your body stay balanced.