Friday, November 6, 2009

Stretching it.

Why is it so darn hard to remember to take the time to stretch after you exercise? The benefits are huge and it really does help. So why is that the part of our training that most of us neglect?

Your stride is easier, smoother and longer when your muscles are limber. When you have tight places that is where your smoothness and stride length will get hung up. Also limber muscles can exercise longer because there is less internal resistance.

To start with stay hydrated. Dry muscles are tight and easily injured muscles. Make sure you drink your water. Hummmmm, that's another thing we neglect, even though we all know it's vital to getting the best from your body. I wonder if the two are connected. Things like stretching, staying hydrated and even icing sore places are where a lot of us, me included, miss the boat sometimes.

Things that don't feel like exercise get put on a back burner because when we do stretching it doesn't feel like a workout, it feels like resting and we have much more important things to do right then. If we have an hour we are going to run, walk, swim, do weights or whatever our "real" workout is that day. We don't take up real exercise time with stretching.

When we do add stretching to the end off our workout, and I don't mean throwing a leg over something and leaning into it for 30 seconds and taking off to change, we accomplish a lot. To start with we get the lactic acid that we built up moving on out. Soreness is often that same lactic acid pooling up in your muscle tissue. We increase the range of motion of our muscles. We actually make our muscles and tendons stronger by keeping them limber.

So the moral of this story is: To perform at your best your muscles need to be limber and have the longest range of motion possible. Hydrated muscles are stronger, looser and less prone to injury.

Thanks for reading.

Rambling Panda

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