4 Stretches to do after a workout
Are you trying to take control of your health? Do you want to reach all of your fitness goals this year?
If you do, then don’t get injured before you can reach your most important goals! Did you know stretching after your workout is one of the most important actions you can take after all of that hard work so that prevent against injury?
Stretching is not just important for flexibility. It’s also beneficial to preventing muscle injuries and to allow your muscles to heal faster. If you’ve ever had a hard session in the gym, then you know how sore you can be the next few days. Hint: really sore!
While stretching isn’t a magic cure for soreness, it is going to help you diminish the soreness a little bit. Plus it’ll increase your flexibility which is going to allow you to perform more workouts in a more proper way and prevent injury.
Follow our guide of these quick post-workout stretches that you can do to prevent muscle soreness and injury in the future.
Exercise #1: Heel to Butt
Lift your heel to your butt with your arms and hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat on the other leg as well. Do this at least two times and maybe three depending on the intensity of your workout. This feels good and stretching your leg muscles.
Exercise #2: Standing Calf Stretch
The standing calf stretch is a great exercise to really lengthen your leg muscles and help them feel fully extended after an intense run or other workout. Find a spare wall with nothing on it. Place your palms flat against the wall. Push one leg behind you and the other in a lunge position. Press against the wall, stretching your calves on each side for 20-30 seconds. Repeat two or three times.
Exercise #3: Reclined Twist
Find an open, flat surface and lay down on it. You may want lay down a comfortable yoga mat. Stretch your legs out in front of you. Then bring one leg over, twisting your body slightly and lifting your knee with your arm. This is called the recline twist stretch and works your legs. Hold for 20-30 seconds once again and then move to the other side. Repeat this stretch three times.
Exercise #4: Arm Across Stretch
This stretch works your arms and is exactly how it sounds. Stand straight with your legs comfortably together or apart. Make sure you are steady. Bring one arm across your chest. Wrap your other arm in a hook around the straightened arm. Gently press your hooked arm to get a deeper stretch. Hold 20-30 seconds. Shake out your arms to release the stretch. Repeat on the other side. Continue to do this two or three times until you feel fully stretched.
So, while post workout stretching is crucially important, dynamic stretching is almost just as important. What do we mean by dynamic stretching?
Dynamic stretching means stretching DURING your workouts. Doing a quick stretch after every set of your workout is going to keep you limber and flexible throughout your routine which is going to prevent your muscles from going cold and getting injured.
You can employ the same 4 stretches above during your workout, just not as much or often. For example a quick “across arm stretch” after every bench press stretch, is going to keep your muscles engaged and less likely to cramp up or fail on your next set.
While stretching is important, the number one reason our muscles get injuried, cramped up or sore is because we don’t get enough hydration. Hydration is what life depends on, 70% of our bodies are made of water, so why would you deny yourself such an element?
Sweating and working out use up A LOT of our hydration, so its important to hit the water fountain or your water bottle as much as possible during your workout to prevent dehydration. Dehydration itself has many worse side effects than just muscle cramps and soreness. It can lead to a lot of other health issues, so make sure you’re getting enough water!
So are you ready to get to work now? If you’re on your way to an intense workout, remember that your post-workout stretches are very important as a preventative measure to injury.
Don’t subject your muscles to soreness and injury! Make sure you are stretching after your workout. It only takes minutes — a short time in the long run when you consider how you’ll pay in soreness and/or injury in the future. Good luck on your workout and keep at it!
Follow our small guide of four great stretching exercises to do in your post-workout routine, and you’ll be feeling great and ready for your next fitness routine. Happy exercising…and stretching!
Link to images: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/stretches-for-sitting-long-periods-of-time