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  • Ab Salute Gym

Stretching - Is It Beneficial?

Updated: Dec 16, 2019

You may think that stretching is a movement only performed by runners or gymnasts. However, we all need to stretch in order to protect our mobility! In this blog post we are going to talk about:

1. Why it’s important to stretch

2. Should you stretch before or after exercise? 

3. Our new Rollfit machine at our Chelmsford branch

1. Why is it important?

Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong and healthy and we need this to maintain a range of motion in the joints on a daily basis and when we train. In other words, how far it is able to bend, twist and reach. Without this, the muscles shorten and become tight. We then want our muscles for activity such as the gym, and they are weak, unable to extend out all of the way. This puts you at risk of joint pain, strains and muscle damage. 

Not every stretch is appropriate for every individual. Some people will naturally be tighter in some places, whilst others will achieve a full range of motion with little effort! In other circumstances, specific stretches may be contraindicated or harmful for certain people. For example, a person with a lower back injury may make this worse if they engage in excessive hamstring stretching, whilst another with a frozen shoulder may have trouble with moves which require placing the arms overhead. In these situations, you may have to progress slowly or modify some of the poses to better suit individual needs. You need to listen to your own body. 

2. Should I stretch before exercising? 

The answer to this depends on what you want to achieve. If you are trying to reduce injury risk, then stretching before is not helpful. Instead warm up with light aerobic movements and gradually increase intensity. If you want to increase your range of motion so that you can for example do the splits then stretching before is more beneficial as even though it makes your strength slightly decrease, performance is improved in the split.

Pre workout: brief dynamic (moving) stretches 

Should I stretch after exercising?

There is some evidence to suggest that regular static stretching outside periods of exercise may increase power, speed and reduce injury. The best time to stretch it when the muscles are warm and pliable. This will also allow you to slow down your breathing and heart rate brining the body back to a resting rate. 

Post workout: Static stretches 

Whilst stretching is very beneficial, it is also important to consider warming up before your working sets. Always take your time warming up to avoid injury risk and to ensure ease of movement. These very basic and common understanding of fitness, stretching is largely overlooked. However, can improve your physical performance whilst reducing risks. Do not skip these steps before/after working out! 

3. New Rollfit machine at Chelmsford

Have you tried our new Rollfit machine at Chelmsford yet? If you would like to use it, please ask one of our receptionists who will be more than happy to help! 

This machine works like a foam roller but takes away the awkward movements on the floor and gets to those muscles you just can’t reach. 

Why use it?

This machine will: Increase blood flow to the area you are using, over time will give you a better range of motion, will give you improved movements during exercise and day to do, will decrease your injury risk and increase recovery time after exercise. What’s not to love?

Our introductory prices are: £2 for 2 minutes, £5 for 10 minutes and £10 for 60 minutes. If you don’t want to use all the minutes at once, please let us know and we will create a log of how long you have left each time you use it! You can use your minutes in 5, 10, 30 and 60 minute sessions at any one time. 

Photo credits: Jonathan Colon

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