But mom! Do I have to?!
Technically, no! But stretching the body, much like stretching the mind, is an essential part of physical growth. You spend X amount of time working out, focusing on contracting the muscles, but then what? In order to be in a prepared state for growth, you must lengthen the muscles back out to their pre-exercise state. Let’s Keep This Simple, Sally! You don’t need to spend oodles of time stretching, though your body will definitely appreciate it! The best times to stretch are before and after something physically demanding (whether that’s a workout or things like moving day, babysitting the grandkids or getting ready for a worship night at Love Quest! Hay-O!). Say What?!?! Yup. There’s actually 2 kinds of stretching and though interchangeable, are best done in a certain order to capitalize the benefits. Dynamic stretching (stretching while moving) is best done before you exercise. Kinda like warming up the car before you drive it. This could be something as simple moving your arms up and down or some simple alternating lunges side to side. Dynamic stretching helps best prep your body so you can go, go, go! Static stretching is that ‘ahhhhhmen’ kind of loving you give your body after a hard push. You can hold the stretches for longer periods of time, through deep breathing, which allows the body (and the mind - BONUS!) to sit in a parasympathetic state (your rest and digest state).
Ok, But Like, So How? Follow these 5 simple ‘go-to’ stretches and watch your A-game turn to an A+game! (Cue the cheese!)