The importance of stretching - By Lindsay Borden
As I get older (and have been running for years), I have become much more aware of the importance of stretching.
Benefits of stretching:
Increases blood flow
Can improve posture
Can help with muscle growth (when you stretch your muscles, they will be able to expand and grow)
Improves your mood
I know the benefits of stretching, but I am still horrible at doing it. Recently, I have been noticing that my shoulders are starting to hunch forward and I have continuous pains in my calves, lower back, and hip. Worse than that, sometimes my tight muscles get in the way of my running.
I also recently learned about developing and stretching the body to help develop all three planes of motion. When I went to workout with a trainer who had me moving from left to right on a stability ball while lifting weights, I fell off. This is when I learned about the three planes of motion and like most runners, I spend more time developing the sagittal plane of motion (forward). It’s important to train our bodies (and brains) to utilize all three planes of motion.
In an effort to tackle my tight muscles, I went out and bought a foam roller. I have also committed to devoting at least two workouts a week to stretching. I learned that stretching is most beneficial after the muscles have been warmed up and that I should focus on stretching the antagonist muscle to the one(s) I have been working out. I have also learned that I should be mixing dynamic stretches (in motion) with static stretches (long holds).
The application is harder. I am not good at pushing myself on the foam roller or with stretches. I am good at getting painful massages that make me want to hurt the masseuse, but this is a more expensive option and not one I can employ weekly.
Going forward, this is my plan:
One class of Hot Yoga or Vinyasa per week (I have to find a new place now that my infrared yoga studio closed)
Stretch for at least 3 to 5 minutes after each run
Drink more water
- Incorporate both static and dynamic stretches
Be sure to try the Lower Body Stretch Segment - Runner's Focus on www.GetFitFaster.ca