Stretching!

Whether for recovery, flexibility, energy or to reduce stress, everyone should stretch!

Here are just a couple of the benefits you can get from stretching your body daily.

1. The obvious one: FLEXIBILITY. 

Some people may not know that in the exercise health world flexibility is a main measure of fitness, alongside muscular and aerobic.

Increased flexibility will aid in exercising easier, as well as some prevention from injury and issues later in life such as tendon problems.

2. RANGE OF MOTION

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A better range of motion within your joints and muscles has much of the same benefits as gaining flexibility. An increased range of motion will also assist in better overall balance.

3. INCREASED CIRCULATION

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Stretching is proven to increase blood flow. This means you will also increase the supply of nutrients to your muscles, which will aid in reducing muscle soreness or DOMS after exercise.

4. REDUCED STRESS.

Gentle stretching will help relax the tense muscles in your body associated with stress. And we're all stressed at some point, right?

Stretching also releases endorphins like with normal exercise, overall improving your mood and feelings of wellness.

Below is a series of stretches that I use to stretch my entire body. Above each image is the muscle or area that the particular stretch focuses on.

I use these after every training session and in the evening/morning if my muscles are tight or sore.

Having never practiced yoga, all of these stretches have allowed me to gain flexibility to try new things with my body such as yoga backbends. But, don't spend 5 minutes doing them and them jump straight into a backbend expecting amazing results. Chances are you'll hurt yourself! Ease into new stretches based on your current flexibility, and don't push yourself to into pain. Attempting things such as back bends and uncommon stretches can cause serious injury to our spines and should always be performed with caution.

I recommend holding these stretches for 15-30 seconds at a time.

 Hamstrings and lower back

 Hamstrings, calves and lower back

Hamstrings and calves

 Glutes and lower back

 Hip flexors

 Calves

 Quads

 Calves

 Obliques and lower back

 Adductors/Abductors

Chest and biceps

 Triceps

 Shoulders

 Forearms

 Core, shoulders and back

Back

 Back

 Back

 Back

 Glutes and Hip flexors