25 May Stretch it out
Okay, time to confess – how often do you properly stretch before or after a workout?
If you answered honestly (and not with the fib most of us tell our physiotherapists) the response was probably something along the lines of ‘Not as often as I should’. We all know that stretching is key to improving and maintaining our posture and mobility, and is also crucial in preventing exercise-related injury. So why are so many people skipping their stretches?
Well, busy contemporary lives mean that many of us are time-poor, and it’s difficult enough to squeeze in a run without adding 15 minutes of stretching either side. Also, stretching is pretty boring, and if you have poor overall mobility it can also be uncomfortable. But the reality is that even a short period of stretching before and after your regular workout will greatly improve your performance and comfort over time. (This is especially the case if you spend the rest of your day sitting at a desk.)
Start by gently working on the parts of the body that cause you the most trouble. The glutes, hamstrings and hip flexors are problem areas for many people, along with the lats, traps and thoracic spine region. Just one hour of mobility work per week is enough to see an improvement, so set aside 10 minutes per day to start and finish your workouts properly, or go all out and join a weekly yoga class. Your muscles will thank you one day.