Stretching after exercising — what to do, why to do it
Stretching after exercising is one of the most important things to do to begin the recovery process of your body. Without stretching you are more prone to injuries and you lose out on all the physiological and psychological benefits.
Why To Do It
The physiological benefits of stretching after working out are vital to help your body reduce muscle fatigue. When working out, your muscles will build up lactic acid, which need to be stretched out for better blood circulation or else you will face more muscle soreness than you can handle and increase the chances of injury.
The psychological benefits on the other hand, are important for relaxation and stress relief purposes. Stretching, many athletes will tell you, helps calm your nerves and relax the mind. Not only will you mentally feel better after stretching, you will also get a chance to pay attention to your body, and understand where any aches or pain is coming from.
What To Do
Stretching after exercising will help you stay safe and healthy, so it is important you do the right stretching activities.
First stretch your calves and hamstrings, since they are the muscles most commonly taking the greatest pounding during a workout. Sit down and extend your legs in front of you. Bring in your left leg so that your left foot is resting on the inside of your right left. Then reach for your right foot with your right hand in a stretching motion for about 30 seconds, then repeat with left leg out instead.
The next stretch will require you to get on your knees, and then bring your right or left leg forward in a lunge position. Keep good posture and begin to push your hips forward and you will feel a stretch along the back of your leg. Again, hold the stretching motion for 30 seconds and repeat with the next leg.
Next you will stretch your chest. Stand straight with your arms by your sides, then position your hands behind your body and interlock your fingers. Once you have these steps complete, you can gently begin (while still interlocked) to pull your hands away from your body, and you will feel the pull on your chest. Again, hold for 30 seconds.
It is important you practice good stretching technique as well as always stretch after every workout. Like mentioned before, not only will it help you stay healthy and safe, it will help you recover fast and improve your performance in the long run.