So often people rush to get their routines in and rush out the door skipping the cool down or the stretch. It's just a couple of minutes that can add LIFE to your muscles, joints, and ligaments and prevent injury. Cheryl Coppa demonstrates how
LESS Stressing & MORE Stretching
Yes, you have heard it a million times! Let’s make it a million and one, with a deeper explanation of why as well as other benefits of stretching and proper execution?
Check out the videos in this article on simple stretches you can add to your day, and how to get the most out of them, and extend longevity.
So often people rush to get their routines in and rush out the door skipping the cool down or the stretch. It's just a couple of minutes, you can give yourself 5 more minutes! And after your workout, your body is in the best state to get the most out of stretching. So if you can give your body just 5 more minutes, this will add LIFE to your muscles, joints, and ligaments and prevent injury.
Let’s break it down.
WHY stretch in the first place?
Stretching the muscles is going to keep them strong, flexible, and healthy and we need this flexibility to maintain a range of motion in our joints. Without it, your muscles will shorten and tighten, and when you call on them this sets you up for injury. It’s not enough to just work out. What good are your muscles when they are tight and you cannot move in a full range of motion? A strong body is a functional body and stretching is part of achieving this. Example: “ Sitting in a chair all day results in tight hamstrings in the back of the thigh. That can make it harder to extend your leg or straighten your knee all the way, which inhibits walking. Likewise, when tight muscles are suddenly called on for a strenuous activity that stretches them, such as playing tennis, they may become damaged from suddenly being stretched. Injured muscles may not be strong enough to support the joints, which can lead to joint injury. So you see, with just a little bit of preventative measures you can avoid inquiry and keep your body moving at its best ability.
We are only as old as we move right?
I don’t have TIME!
I know you are thinking, of one more thing I need to add to my wellness routine. Yes, we have a lot of muscles, I know the thought of having to stretch daily can sound overwhelming. But here’s the thing, it doesn’t have to be every muscle. If you are already following a fitness routine, your trainer will take you through the appropriate stretches for whatever you just did, so no worries there. Every workout should end with at least 3-5 minutes of stretching, the bare minimum. Now if you need to get stretches in on your own, focus on the lower extremities! Keeping muscles in the hip/pelvic region relaxed and flexible will be beneficial as it is the foundation of your body. Because of modern life, most of our tightness originates in this area and creates a domino effect of pains. So if we can give this area some attention it will be worth it as a whole-body effect.
There are some very simple and effective stretches you can do during the day and more relaxing ones you can do when you have the time. See both options right here. These are both regulars for me.
WHEN should I stretch?
The best time to stretch is when your body is warm. So after a fitness routine is BEST! Otherwise, get your body warm first, and move around. Research continues to show when your muscle fibers are “cold” they are not prepared and could be damaged. If you can get some blood flow first, this will make the tissue more pliable, like taffy!
Why does stretching release stress?
Stress can build up quickly and create physical stiffness and mental stiffness. I'm sure you can relate, all of a sudden your back hurts, your neck hurts or your joints hurts. When it comes to stress, it triggers our “fight or flight“ response, and our bodies tense up. When you hold on to the tension chronic pain shows up. Stretching can interrupt that defense response and provide RELIEF. Stress restricts blood flow, this is why those knots show up in your back. Stretching improves circulation allowing muscles to relax, which then leads to greater heart health which also leads to new blood flow to the brain which can result in a mood elevation! You see how EVERYTHING is connected! So for those of us, that think something so easy could not bring amazing benefits, think again! It's the accumulation of small consistent deposits that always make the difference.
Is BREATHING important?
Ahhh deep breaths! The power of your breath is real. We know this right? Slowing or controlling your breathing during labor or an anxiety attack is what gives you power and control over what is happening in your body. So remember this when doing your stretches and relieving tension. Slow your breathing, this promotes full oxygen intake which will slow your heart rate, and lower or stabilize your blood pressure, inducing a more relaxed state of being.
Immediate and accumulative effects
Yes! Thankfully we get both! If you take control of your breath and stretch, the appropriate muscle that is giving you grief, you can get immediate relief. Same with your mental tension! The accumulated effects are much greater. This is what gives you longevity in your joints and muscles. You will surely notice the way you are able to move your body as you continue to incorporate stretching into your daily routine. You wouldn’t just brush your teeth once a week right? Right
HELP ~ How do I get started?
Check out the videos here for staple stretches and releases I use every day! To really help you get started, hop in on our Facebook group where we are doing a daily stretch challenge. Small-time commitment, but immediate results, and start to build your routine for the accumulative effects.
I also offer a weekly class if you want to commit to 30 minutes of just stretching and releasing. It feels like a luxury for me to set aside 30 minutes to just be and take it slow and give my body that tender attention it needs.
About Cheryl Coppa
Trainer Wife & Mother of 3, Personal Trainer, Core Confidence Specialist & Glute Specialist.
Cheryl's fitness journey didn’t even start until she was pregnant with child # 3. She knows what it’s like to feel sick and tired and start from scratch. Cheryl focuses on helping moms and busy women achieve physical fitness and performance with minimal time deposits. "It’s never too late to start. Fitness is a lifelong journey, so hop on and let’s enjoy the ride".