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Stretch yourself!

Stretch yourself!

Stretching: Many of us see it as a boring necessity before or after a workout. Something to be got through as quickly as possible. We know we're supposed to do it but we're not sure exactly why. It doesn't feel like “proper” exercise after all, so what's the point?

Does that way of thinking sound familiar? If so, you're probably not getting the most out of your fitness regime. Stretching is far more than an optional add-on to exercise. It has important health benefits in its own right and it can make a huge difference to the quality of your workout. Not to mention the fact that it feels brilliant if you do it right!

Why stretch?

Stretching is all about improving your flexibility. But why is that so important? Here are some top benefits of stretching:

  • Improved range of motion.
  • Easing of muscle stiffness.
  • Injury prevention.
  • Improved posture.
  • Better circulation.
  • Stress reduction and promotion of relaxation.
  • Improved functional performance.

When should I stretch?

Anytime! Before a workout in order to prepare your muscles and prevent injury. After a workout in order to ease any aches and pains and promote muscle recovery. And anytime in between in order to relieve stress and give your energy levels a boost!

How do I get started?

Any qualified fitness instructor will be able to advise you on the combination of stretches that's best for you.

So next time you're at the gym, take a bit of time to ask some stretching questions.

Alternatively, you could try out an exercise class with a specific focus on stretching. Yoga and Pilates are the obvious ones, but many gyms also offer more generic stretching and relaxation classes.

Take the time to stretch. Your body and mind will thank you for it.