Warming up / pre-workout stretching is standard procedure and a “must” for the majority. It’s easy to see why stretching before working out rather than going in “cold” is a good thing however the benefits to post-workout stretching often gets overlooked.
Post workout, stretching out your tired muscles is or should be part of your recovery routine and helps you get more out of your workout, even after it has finished.
Here are just some of the reasons why missing your after-training stretches is a bad idea!
- Stretching serves to reduce the tension in your muscles after training. Doing so reduces tiredness, promotes muscle recovery and helps to kick-start the repair process.
- Stretching boosts flexibility. By pro-actively reducing the tension in your muscle groups post workout you are working to boost and build-up your muscle flexibility overall. This can make a big difference in ability, particularly when it comes to running, and taking part in endurance sports. It stands to reason that stretching also helps to improve your range of motion.
- Your circulation is boosted thanks to stretching, particularly after a fierce / high intensity workout. It (stretching) gives you the chance to cool off, regain your normal heartbeat and boost circulation by breaking the flow / release of lactic acid which also serves to promote repair.
- Stretching also helps to reduce pain post-workout. Tightness in the muscles is eased and this reduction also serves to avoid the likelihood of related injuries such as a pulled hamstring. If you suffer from some pain post-workout stretching may not necessary “cure” that however it could go a long way to minimising it.
- Believe it or not stretching can help boost your energy levels! Once you’ve “cooled down” properly after a workout your brain sends out endorphins that make you feel good. The added bonus of this is that you will feel energised, despite having just done a workout. The cooldown process makes you feel good!
- Cooling off gently is important after a workout, as is reducing your heartrate slowly but continuously until it reaches normal speeds. Stretching out is a good way to promote this phenomenon, bringing you back to normal rhythms and balancing everything out.
- Stretching also give you time to think things over, to assess your workout, to mentally take stock and plan, all while stretching it out. Take the time to cool down and chill out at the same time as finishing off your workout in your mind as well as your body.
Not convinced? If you aren’t one for post-workout stretching give it a go a few times, stretching out effectively and see the difference between these workouts and the ones where you grab a towel and run for the showers / out.