I admit that I am one of the worst when it comes to getting enough flexibility work in. When we are younger we don’t really notice when we aren’t stretching the muscles after a hard workout. In fact, I don’t remember ever really feeling good after doing any stretching. I guess I am getting old when I say I feel great when I take the time to get on the floor and get a good stretch of the hamstrings and low back, two areas that are trouble spots for men. There are differing views on the benefit of stretching but the general consensus is we can alleviate the chance of injury by keeping the muscles flexible. I have read, and do believe this, that we should NOT stretch before competing, whether it be in a race or game. While it is very important to warm up prior to strenuous exercise, stretching the muscles can actually open you up for injury. We are stretching the muscles around the joints so when we do that and then go into a competition it can spell trouble. There is also an aspect of stretching that helps with stress management.
Some things to remember when stretching is to always be warm when stretching. Even if you don’t plan on working out you should never stretch muscles when they are cold. Hold the stretch and gradually work your way out making it more challenging rather than bouncing. Don’t aim for pain but do get out of your comfort zone. The only way to increase flexibility is to push it. Keep it sport specific. If you do a lot of running or play a sport like soccer, its important to keep those hamstrings nice and flexible. That doesn’t mean to avoid other muscles but you may need to spend more time there.
When you get into a nice stretch routine I guarantee you will feel so much better!
Until next time…