#FatblasterFriday | 5 benefits of stretching more frequently

I’ll be the first to admit it. I don’t stretch enough. Although I preach the value of stretching regularly to my group fitness classes and personal training clients, when given the choice to spend my last 10 minutes in the gym on cardio, strength training or stretching, I’ll always opt for one more set of squat presses 😉

If you’ve seen me in yin yoga class, you’ll know that flexibility is not my strong suit. Forward fold, pigeon pose, seated hamstring stretch; all are torture for me.

5_Reasons_To_Stretch

Despite knowing the benefits of stretching, I simply don’t do it enough.

Why stretch, you ask? Besides the obvious, ‘it feels good’, here are five benefits of stretching more frequently:

  • improved range of motion. Want to be able to kick higher? Throw harder? Run faster? Increasing your range of motion at knee, hip and shoulder joints can improve the speed and power of your every day (and sports-specific) movements. Joints with limited range of motion tend to get stiffer and tighter over time, eventually limiting mobility and independence.
  • better circulation. Stretching increases blood flow to your muscles. Better blood flow means faster flushing of post-workout waste products out of the muscle tissues and more rapid recovery between workouts.
  • improved posture. Muscles work in pairs to help you maintain proper posture. Muscle tightness on one side of the body results in over-stretched (and often weak) muscles on the opposite side. To improve posture, stretch tight muscles and strengthen their over-stretched counterparts.
  • pain and injury prevention. Lower back pain is often a direct result of tightness in the hamstrings, hips and glutes. Tight muscles pull the pelvis out of it’s natural alignment and result in increased pressure on the lumbar spine.
  • relaxation and improved mental health. Combining slow, gentle stretching with deep, regular breathing often leads to the release of relaxation and ‘happy’ hormones. Practiced just before bedtime, stretching can also act as a sleep aid; one of my favourite benefits of stretching!

Today’s #FatblasterFriday video is a guided stretch. Lasting about 8 minutes, it will guide you through a gentle, whole body stretch,.focusing on the muscles that are most commonly tight and in need of lengthening. Listen to the birds in my backyard and enjoy a few minutes of relaxation and rejuvenation with me!

Feeling all happy and relaxed? Then PLEASE

Disclaimer: Although I am a registered Personal Trainer, I am not YOUR Personal Trainer. Always adapt workouts to suit your body and fitness level. Always consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.

Looking for an inexpensive way to jump-start your journey to fitness and health? Join my online Bootcamp today! Get more info by clicking the image below.

Looking for an inexpensive way to jump-start your journey to fitness and health? Join my online Bootcamp today! Get more info by clicking the image below.

Comments

  1. OH
    GOSH
    I
    SO
    NEED
    THIS
    TOO.
    Miz recently posted…Whats the first word you see?My Profile

  2. I’m awful about including time to stretch! If I do a workout DVD and they stretch at the end I make myself do that!
    I will foam roll some though (especially after long runs!).
    Great reminder of the benefits of stretching – really am trying to do better!
    Kim recently posted…Abdominal Training Epiphany!!!My Profile

    • Kim, I hear you! I always make sure and include a 5 or 6 minute stretch at the end of all of my group fit classes, but when I’m in the gym, I almost never spend the time.

      Foam rolling is great, but not an alternative, right 😉

  3. Yea for stretching! I was getting so good about it & then went on vacation & a work trip & have lost all my stretchy mojo! Thanks for the reminder & the tips!
    Katie @ KatieEnPursuit recently posted…Five for Friday 3.22.12 Chi-Town Wrap-UpMy Profile

    • You’re so welcome! And the ‘use it or lose it’ principle really does apply to stretching too…

  4. Stephanie Robbins says:

    Great post. Working remotely so I can’t pull it off today but will keep for later. I am trying to get better at stretching. Not just after my workout but throughout the day. Helps so much! Just hard to slow down. Guess that is a sign that we need to 🙂

    And you mentioned Yin Yoga. I do that once a week as my treat. That really has helped.

    • Oooh, you mean you’re not gonna get down on the floor in the coffee shop and stretch those hamstrings? LOL!
      I haven’t been to Yin in a while. Need to get back to it!

  5. Yes, yes, guilty! I think sometimes those of us who are less flexible are even less motivated to do it… if I were super gumby, I might enjoy it more. 🙂 Thanks for the great reminder!
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted…5 Interval Workouts for a Faster 5kMy Profile

    • Laura, that’s me exactly! I always joke to my group fit participants about how they’re all stretchier than me, but haven’t focused enough on changing that…

  6. Guilty too! I actually love stretching but I often squeeze in workouts between dealing/rushing the kids places and lately I just skip it. Not good! I needed to read this today- thanks!
    Melanie @ Nutritious Eats recently posted…Chocolate Almond Microwave Mug CakeMy Profile

    • You’re welcome! How about we start an pre-bedtime stretching group? What a great way to wind down for sleep…

  7. I am so relaxed now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OH, I was supposed to do it with you!!!?? 😉 Greta one Tamara & as I said on Instagram – so important & the older you get, the more important it is! 🙂
    Jody – Fit at 55 recently posted…BananaChipCookieDoughBites; ProteinOatmealCookieBars; I Need Your HelpMy Profile

  8. I definitely don’t stretch as much as I should. I always say that I will at the end of the day but I never do which is ridiculous because it doesn’t take a whole lot of time! OK, going to stretch tonight I promise!!
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted…Friday Round-Up: Let’s be realMy Profile

    • Christine, you know that a lot of your yoga practice is doing exactly the same things stretching does, right? If you’re practicing yoga daily, you’re probably doing alright!

  9. I love when you talk to me… I miss our vlogs!
    Mindy Artze recently posted…My week, healthier water? and giveaway!My Profile

  10. I am terrible about stretching. I know it helps. I know it’s good for me. I’m just so impatient…. sigh. Will make a better effort this week!
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted…Strange But Good Gluttony: Irish Car Bomb CupcakesMy Profile

    • How about doing it while you watch television Laura? An easy time to be not doing anything else 😉 (unless of course, you knit…)

  11. I stretch almost nightly whether I work out or not. I learned the hard way why NOT to stop stretching.
    Jill @ Fitness, Health and Happiness recently posted…#3 of 13 in 2013 Trail Races || Run For The Green 5KMy Profile

    • Prevention is the best medicine, right Jill? Especially when you’re putting a lot of miles on your running shoes!

  12. Oh Yin Yoga. It kills me to stay in those positions that long. So good for me though I know. I can be bad about stretching. I’ll roll around on a foam roller all day, but ask me to hold a stretch. Meh. Great post and reminder.
    Tina @ Best Body Fitness recently posted…Saturday SharesMy Profile

    • Totally agree. My brain screams at me for the first minute or two of every single pose. But I’m always happy when it’s over 🙂

  13. Thankfully I am still flexible but I CERTAINLY do need to stretch more! I love pilates because it makes me stretch, stretch, stretch, but sometimes my schedule gets too busy so I sometimes go weeks without doing it! BUT… I am going tomorrow!!!!! Lets get limber baby 😀
    GiGi Eats Celebrities recently posted…Coming In For A LandingMy Profile

  14. I’m so awful about stretching. I’m good at remembering to foam roll when I’m sore and then it’s out of sight, out of mind when I’m not hurting. I should know better.

    Great information, thank you.
    Carrie @ FamilyFitnessFood.com recently posted…What’s in your fitness closet? My favorite workout items.My Profile

  15. Hi Tamara! I recently started up dance classes again and discovered that the warm up itself is more challenging for me than the actual choreography.!

    I have started stretching at home, so that when I show up in class, I’m not grimacing quite so much 🙂
    kirri White (@kirri_white) recently posted…What I’ll teach my daughters about body image and beautyMy Profile

  16. Just like you I don’t stretch much. After reading this post, I understand the importance of stretching and its health benefits too.
    Denise recently posted…Free Activity and Calorie CountersMy Profile

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