"A lot of people don't understand that stretching has to happen on a regular basis. It should be daily," says David Nolan, a physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.
Hands down stretching needs to be a priority in your workouts. It is one of the most overlooked, and under utilized practices. It should be a part of every fitness program. I do agree there is a lot of debate over when to stretch and what method to use but everyone agrees it must be a part of your training.
Why is stretching a part of every comprehensive fitness plan??? It's because it can be used to optimize and maximize your fitness. Not only can you increase mobility but it also helps with flexibility which helps maintain range of motion in your joints. This gives improved performance in the gym and will increase the effectiveness of your workouts.
Stretching should be done daily. At minimum you should be stretching once a day if not 2-3 times. I say this because... the way you stretch in the morning isn't the same way you stretch before a workout or the way you stretch after a workout. We should absolutely stretch for the occasion but also do a general stretch of the entire body. Typically when I am implementing stretching it's to decrease soreness especially after an intense class or training session. Think about this for a second other than reducing DOMS....(Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) AKA that annoying soreness you feel after a workout that in some sort of sick twisted way we grow to love... instead of that... why don't we consider that we are actually helping our body get stronger.
Let's reframe stretching in a way that might give you more buy in to stay consistent with it. Next time you stretch instead of thinking of the pain and discomfort... instead remember that it will improve energy, help with performance, and get you stronger... My last take on this is, "Shut up and do it!"
Did you know???
- Reduce joint pain, strains, and muscle damage
- Reduce lower back pain
- Decrease risk of injury
- Improve muscular balance and alignment
- Reduce stress and helps promote relaxation
- Helps with posture
- Improve athletic sports performance
- Improve flexibility
- Improve circulation
- Increase stamina
- Improve energy levels
What Should I Do???
The truth is we all know the answer to this question... STRETCH!!! That's it...You're welcome. Seriously though start implementing stretch outside of your workout. If you go to a Crossfit Gym or are taking classes at the YMCA the advice is the same ask a professional and check your form. Seriously if all else fails you should strongly consider joining a Yoga or Pilates class.