Ageless Fitness Tips for Flexibility Training
By Julie Pollard
Why should I stretch?
When we think of exercising, we often think only of cardiovascular exercise and weight or resistance training. We rarely think about stretching as part of an exercise routine. However, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends including flexibility training 2-3 days per week.
Stretching helps increase blood flow to your muscles. Stretching also maintains (or improves) joint range of motion. Why have strong muscles and joints if you can't use them to the best of their ability?
When should I stretch?
Studies have shown that static stretching prior to exercising can decrease your muscular strength by 30%. Static stretches are stretches like touching your toes or a standing quad stretch. Static stretching can also be something like a restorative yoga class. This type of stretching should be performed after exercise, but make sure to approach it gently.
Warm muscles are more prone to injury from stretching.
What should I stretch?
If you are new to stretching, focus on targeting all the major muscle groups. For the lower body, target your hamstrings, quads, calves. For the upper body, focus on stretching your shoulders, chest, arms, and neck.
How should I stretch?
There are many different stretching techniques available. We may go into that in a later post, but here are a few pointers for your stretching practice:
Still not sure what to do?
If you want some help with your flexibility routine, we recommend consulting with an Ageless Fitness personal trainer to help you with form and techniques for safe stretching!
Julie is the co-founder of Ageless Fitness and director of operations.