Stretching is one of the most overlooked components of fitness. Everyone should incorporate more flexibility moves into their workout routines — not just at the beginning. Here’s how:
Prepare your body for stretching by warming up first, not the other way around. Do five to ten minutes of walking, stepping, cycling, or some other aerobic movement before you stretch. Your muscles will be more pliable if your body temperature is higher. Stretching before exercising allows the body to become more flexible and less prone to injury.
When weight training, remember to stretch the same muscles you worked in between sets. This will help keep lactic acid from building up in your muscles (lactic acid causes muscles to become sore).
If you do any aerobics, make sure that you end the session with a cool-down period that stretches the major muscle groups. Stretching will help you feel more refreshed and energized, because it helps your body circulate blood. (After exertion your blood tends to pool in the lower body, making you feel tired and dizzy.)
Developing more flexibility not only reduces your body’s risk of injuries; it also helps you recover faster after each and every workout. During your exercises, you’ll be able to use a larger range of motion, and your form will improve. Throughout the day, you will probably be more aware of your posture when sitting, standing, or walking.
You will also feel less fatigued at the end of the day and more refreshed in the morning from a good night’s sleep!