Stretching is an important part of your workout and keeps your muscles flexible, strong, and healthy. When you start your work out, you can increase the blood flow to your muscles by jogging or doing other gentle exercises. Then stretch for 5-10 minutes. This will increase oxygen and nutrient flow to your muscles and remove metabolic waste. At the end of your workout, stretch while your muscles are still warm to aid recovery.
Being limber allows for greater range of motion, improving your physical performance. When you stretch, you improve your flexibility and protect your muscles from becoming tight or injured. It may not feel like stretching is as impactful as lifting weights or doing a HIIT workout, but if you skip it, you may find yourself with an injury that prevents you from doing the activities you love. It is an integral part of building strength.
You will definitely want to stretch the muscles you target in your workout, and some of these common areas include your chest, triceps, calves, and hamstrings. You can see me demonstrating these stretches in the slideshow.
Another idea for stretching your muscles and the fascia holding them in place is foam rolling. Together, stretching and foam rolling will keep your muscles loose and ready to work for you!
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Give Foam Rolling a Try!
Foam rolling can be a great way to release tension, reduce stiffness, and increase flexibility. Similar to a massage, it is a myofascial release technique. The fascia is a layer of connective tissue that holds your muscles in place. Muscles and fascia can become tight from overuse or weakness, which limits your range of motion. Like massage, foam rolling can stretch and soften these tissues, realigning them and restoring mobility.
Foam rolling can be intense, even painful. But it should be similar to the pain of a deep tissue massage. If it doesn't feel good, stop. Foam rolling works especially well for large muscles such as glutes, hamstring, and quads. I personally love rolling out my lats.
You can use the warm up video above before (or even after!) your workouts. Even as you watch your favorite show or morning wakes ups when you feel sore or tight in areas. It includes a foam rolling section. For more, check out this article from Harvard Health and this article from the New York Times.
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Living the good, fit life in Seattle, WA. Stay tuned for more bilingual fitness tips and nutritious recipes.