There’s an asymmetric profile to the advantages of warming up before heading out on a run – it helps to materially decrease the risk of injury as by ignoring or rushing a warmup, you’re more likely to pull a muscle, tear a tendon, or tweak a joint. Also, I find that if I don’t warm up but rather go straight into a run, it’s simply harder to sustain the pace, and I’m more likely to burn out quicker. This, in turn, makes me feel demotivated and discouraged from running again; cue the spiral of unfavorable results! This post is a brief overview of my 4 favorite warm-up stretches which you might give a try next time you’re about to go for your run! (more…)
This is a short post to revisit the importance of stretching. Why? People are training harder than usual this time of year to whip their bodies into ‘beach mode’ for the upcoming holiday season, so here’s a little reminder of why not to overlook your stretches and why it’s so important! Just by stretching for a few minutes after each session, you’ll see and feel actual, real-life benefits. Check out my favourite 5 (of many) reasons why it’s the way forward, and a few added stretch ‘idea’ photographs to get you started, all shot at the gorgeous Kasbah Tamadot, Morocco, wearing Lululemon and Autumn Cashmere. MORE…
Alot of my clients don’t (at first) think they need to stretch. Some don’t see the value. Some think they should be lifting something instead, or running somewhere. Some think they’ll (embarrassingly) never be able to reach their toes! BUT by stretching for a few minutes, you will see and feel the benefits. Here are just 6 (of many) reasons why I consider it vitally important to stretch, in no particular order!
1) Reduces your risk of injury drastically, and keeps you mobile as your body matures.
2) Improves your flexibility, by increasing the range of motion of a joint by stretching out the surrounding soft tissue (i.e. muscles tendons & ligaments)
3) Speeds muscle recovery – after an intense workout, the muscles remain in a partially-contracted state, and by not stretching afterwards, you will feel stiff and sore for longer. Stretching relaxes, elongates and softens the muscles which is important for both strength and endurance training.
4) Creates correct muscle balance – failing to stretch regularly after workouts can lead to problems with posture, & muscle imbalance. Consider someone who sits at a desk for 10 hours everyday, some of his / her muscles will naturally become tighter, others weaker. For example, the hip flexors will be in a mildly contracted state whilst seated, and after a while the hip flexor can tilt the pelvis forward, causing the spine to round, which leads to pack pain. So even if you’re not working out, stretching out the pelvis, hip flexor, back, neck and shoulders for a few minutes every day, will help your body stay conditioned.
5) Improves balance – by increasing the range of motion in joints, it gives the body one fewer reason to impede itself and fall over, as stretching encourages uninhibited movement.
6) Muscular growth – The fascia (fibrous tissue) surrounding muscles is said to limit the amount of space muscles have to grow. By stretching a muscle under a resistance, you can encourage further muscular growth (hypertrophy). Be aware though, Extreme Fascial Stretching (for muscle growth) is very stressful to muscular tissue and can cause injury if not practised properly.
TYPES OF STRETCHING ?
1) PRE WORKOUT ? Dynamic Stretching – always warm up for c. 5 minutes before stretching, making sure the muscles are actively prepared, and then perform dynamic stretches, which effectively means ‘stretching whilst moving’. These stretches should only be held for 3-10 seconds each. Some examples are walking lunges, lunging and reaching, power skipping, knee hugs, quad walks etc.
2) POST WORKOUT ? Static Stretching – these are slow and constant, and each stretch is usually held for 10-30 seconds, during which you’ll consider them mildly uncomfortable. Sometimes they’ll be passive, as someone stretches you out whilst your body relaxes. You should avoid bouncing whilst holding your static stretch, as it can risk tearing muscular fibre. These stretches aren’t designed to make you sweat, rather to lengthen/relax the muscle spindles.
Stretch safe, here are some pics of me having a stretch! Faya x