Today I’m introducing Guest Blogger* Valerie Johnston from Healthline.com. – With ambitions of one day running a marathon, this health & fitness writer in East Texas ensures she’s up to date with all the latest wellness news! Today’s post is on the importance of stretching – when to do it, when not to do it, and all the best (and secret) methods to recovery. Read on and be inspired!
Stretching is an extremely important part of any workout routine. However, what most people do not know is that it is actually more beneficial to stretch after exercising rather than before. Stretching beforehand can actually cause more damage than it prevents.
When Not to Stretch
Stretching before working out has been proven to lead to more injuries than if people did not stretch at all. This is because the purpose of stretching is to relax the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the body. When these parts of the body gets too relaxed, it can be very dangerous to perform high intensity activities.
This is because these muscles and tendons need to be tight and constricted in order to keep the rest of the body performing at a high level. If the bones and muscles are not being held tightly in place, they can easily be broken, fractured, or otherwise injured during exercise.
Why After Is Better
Stretching after working out, however, is extremely beneficial and can help prevent injury. This is due to the fact that the muscles and everything else get very tight during intense physical exercise. After the tightening occurs, it needs to be released so that the muscles can recover and rebuild after being torn up from the work out.
Stretching can help relax the muscles as to not allow build up of lactic acid, the substance that causes cramping and pain in the muscles. By letting all of these acids escape and run out of the muscles, it helps people be much less sore the next day after a big work out and it allows their muscles to properly heal.
How To Stretch
However, stretching does no good if it is not done correctly. In order to get the muscles to work at their full potential and recover at the fastest rate possible, people should follow the following guidelines. First, stretches should not be held for longer than six seconds at a time. Contrary to popular opinion, which says that stretching needs to be for extended lengths of time, a stretch should last exactly six seconds and then be released for six seconds and repeated a total of three times.
In addition, stretches should not be painful. Many people think that an effective stretch bends the body to the point where it actually begins to hurt. No pain, no gain is their philosophy. This is actually very dangerous, as over stretching can lead to chronic injuries and pain. A stretch should only go as far as the person can handle without pain. Otherwise, the stretch does more harm than help.
Stretches should also be done after each and every work out. If individuals decide to exercise and skip the stretching afterwards, it can cause a lot of pain, soreness, and likeliness for injury in the future. Sometimes it is tempting to skip the stretches after working out because one is very worn out and just wants to get home, but it is absolutely necessary for proper body function.
Chocolate Milk and Stretching
Something a lot of people also do not know about stretching is that, when combined with a glass of chocolate milk, it makes for the best muscle recovery possible. Chocolate milk, though often viewed as unhealthy or fattening, actually possesses all of the necessary elements to rebuild and recover muscles quickly and perfectly. (an aside from me – this is perfect, I love chocolate steri stumpies after hard excercise, particularly a run. I find it works well as a recovery drink!)
When the muscles are worn down during exercise, they need plenty of protein, calcium, and other things to help them grow back and grow back stronger. If these muscles are not taken care of properly, they will not grow or recover. Stretching is just one way to ensure that the body is healthy and running at top performance levels.
Have you got any great fitness tips or things that have worked? Share as a comment below or tweet me @theggguide – have a super weekend!
* I love guest posts! If you would like to share your knowledge or expertise on any design, decor, fashion or style trends, please email me on theggguide[at]gmail.com. All posts and included links undergo a review before publishing.