The benefits of stretching and how important it is after sport or physical activity
Stretching off after exercise is so important and yet it’s the most common thing people either don’t both with or forget to factor in time for at the end of each training session.
Stretching can often get labelled as the boring bit of a training program. Many people, including athletes and fitness fanatics, don’t understand the true benefits of stretching, or regular yoga practice, when incorporated into their training routines can have. If they did they might make a little more time for it. Below we have listed our top 5 benefits of stretching.
Benefits of stretching
Stretching properly after exercise helps to…
Prevent injury and alleviate tightness
One of the main benefits of stretching is to help avoid injury. If you have been training hard, perhaps lifting heavy weights or doing HIIT Training (High Intensity Interval Training) you probably have tightened up a lot of muscles in the process. If these muscles remain tight (under tension) they run the risk of getting injured in future training sessions or even during every day activities. Stretching off, after workouts can help reduce this risk.
Speed up recovery time
Yoga practice improves the blood flow around the body using a combination of movement and breath. The additional breathing focus also increases the amount of oxygen carried in the blood. Good blood supply and circulation is vital for the repair of all our body cells including the muscles and ligaments you have just trained hard. The increase flow enables our damaged cells to get the nutrients and energy they need to repair more quickly and therefore speed up overall recovery time.
Reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (AKA the DOMS)
As outlined above stretching or yoga practice after exercise can help improve circulation and blood flow, enabling our muscles and ligaments to receive the supply of nutrients and energy they need to repair more quickly. If practiced directly after exercise you can vastly reduce delayed onset muscle soreness or avoid it completely.
Don’t forget our muscles are not only put under a lot of stress and tension during exercise but also during our day to day lives to, creating tension in those areas of our bodies that we use most. Stretching properly or incorporating regular yoga practice in your weekly schedule will help to alleviate muscle tension.
Calm the body and re-balance hormone levels
As good as exercise is for our bodies, it also increases the release of the cortisol (the stress hormone) and other adrenal hormones. This can throw some peoples endocrine system out of sync and then cause other issues too. Practicing yoga after your workout, or incorporating regular practice into your weekly schedule, can help control and re-balance your hormone levels again creating peace and harmony within your body, with the added bonus of calming the mind too.
Fancy giving Yoga a try?
Flotality have lots of options to help you stretch off…
Find a local class:
If you prefer to be instructed (enforced practice if you like) see if you can find a local class before or after your main training activity. This also helps to prevent any distractions which may prevent you from practicing as well ensuring correct postures are held. Flotality runs both lunchtime and evening classes on Thursdays if you are looking for a group class. See our classe timetable here.
Book private 1-2-1’s at a time that suits you:
Or you might choose to book a 1-2-1 to better fit in around your training schedule. A private yoga lesson will typically be programmed specific to your individual needs and so therefore could be really beneficial as you will be getting exactly what YOU need. Flotality 1-2-1s can be held at your home or a venue suitable for you. Find out more about these here.
Use online video classes:
Alternatively, you could look at online video classes, there are plenty of freebies on YouTube you can use, or you could sign up to a online class provider such as Alo Moves. This will enable you to practice yoga anywhere you like, on the move, at home or even whilst away. Hopefully one day Flotality might be able to offer some video classes too – so watch this space!
If you would like to know any more information on any of the above feel free to give us a call!