Getting the most out of your stretches, both before and after your workout is critical for any fitness routine. And a lot of us tend to neglect doing them or we just don’t know to do them right. Here’s a guide to some of the best pre- and post-workout stretches you can do so that you can get the most out of your exercise routine.
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Stretching preps your body for the workout ahead and helps to relax your muscles afterward. And the key to stretching is to figure out which exercises are best for your workout. If you don’t stretch properly you can hurt yourself , while doing stretches before and after a workout also aids in muscle growth.
Jumping jacks are a simple exercise that gets your heart rate up, engages key muscles group and doesn’t have a heavy impact on your joints. They’re the perfect way to start any workout and warm-up your muscles.
StyleCraze lists several benefits to jumping jacks that include weight loss, keeping your heart healthy, relieving stress, improved stamina, strength, stability and flexibility.
Full Leg stretch
A great exercise for after a workout, the full leg stretch is great for relaxing your leg muscles after a strenuous routine. It helps to prevent stiffness the next day. You can do this by lifting your legs up one at a time to a bench or can do it from a sitting position, whichever you prefer.Leg stretches when done properly can reduce the risk of injury, strengthen the muscles and improve stamina and flexibility.
They can also increase your range of motion – an important advantage for runners and sportsmen who can improve their performance on field as a result, according to YogaWiz. Prolonged yoga stretches can even reduce cholesterol and prevent the hardening of arteries.
Even if you’re only doing strength exercises on the day, a light jog has a number of benefits and slowly gets your muscles moving and warmed up. Don’t push yourself, just put the gears in motion to ready yourself for what’s to come.
“Running is a full-body metabolic, weight-bearing workout, so the benefits are enormous,” Andrew Slane, running coach at Precision Run and Equinox group fitness instructor on Variis, tells LIVESTRONG.
However, jogging at a very slow pace is equally good for you, according to a studying of over 1000 runners and non-runners, according to a report from Live Science.
“The analysis showed that light joggers were about 78 percent less likely to die over the 12-year study than those who were sedentary. “Light joggers” were defined as those who ran at a speed of about 5 mph (8 km/h) a few times a week, for less than 2.5 hours per week total.”
“In contrast, those who jogged strenuously were just as likely to die during the study period as those who were sedentary”, another study from the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found. “Strenuous joggers were defined as those who ran at a speed of more than 7 mph (11 km/h), for more than four hours per week.”
Bend your leg at the knew and grab your foot, pulling it up towards your butt, while flexing your quad muscles tightly. This doesn’t pump your heart rate up like some other warm up exercises and is more suitable for post-workout stretches. To get the most out of this, do it while standing and, if you need to use a wall or something to help you balance, don’t hesitate to.
The benefits of quadriceps stretches are reduced stress, improved circulation and increased flexibility,” according to Yoga Wiz.
Perhaps the simplest stretch you can find, just bring each arm across your body, and you’ll feel this stretch straight away. These are great stretches for both before and after any workout where you’ve worked shoulders, biceps or triceps. You can also do the reverse, and press your arm against a wall while spread out wide. Lean in and feel the pinch on your pecs after doing bench-presses and arm raises.
Yoga Wiz also explains the befits of stretching your arms as “improvement to your flexibility and range of movement… reduce[d] stress, soreness, muscle fatigue, and injury.”