Ask a Coach: How Do I Get Started with Stretching?
Hi Coach Mandy,
I’ve been feeling tight after my workouts lately. My friend Sadie can touch her nose to her knees, but I can barely touch my ankles with my fingertips. What gives? Will stretching help me loosen up? Do you have any tips to help me get started?
Let’s Get Flexy
Hi Let’s Get Flexy,
Great question and one that often gets overlooked!
Stretching is important for preventing injuries and maintaining long, lean muscles. During exercise, your muscles constantly contract, causing them to tighten up and shorten over time. Tight muscles don’t contract properly, and this can lead to incorrect form and injury. Stretching helps muscles return to their original length. It also helps muscles recover and grow after a tough workout.
When you stretch, don’t stretch to the point of pain. Stretch with the intention of relieving tension. You should lean just hard enough into a stretch to feel a gentle pulling motion. Breathe deeply and slowly while stretching. Inhale to hold a stretch and exhale to go deeper into the stretch.
If you are tight on time after a workout, just stretch the muscle groups you worked during your workout. As you get more time during the day, help your body stay limber by stretching major muscle groups for a few minutes, multiple times a day. This is especially important for those of us who sit a lot during the day. Make sure to stretch your hamstrings, back, neck and shoulders to counteract all of that sitting!
Loosen up today!
You can get started with this great full-body stretch routine:
- Triceps extension
- Cross-body arm
- Downward dog
- Deep lunge
For best results, hold each stretch for at least 1-2 deep breaths in and out.
And for a little extra something, here’s Coach Alba to show you how each of these stretches look!