With our busy lives, it’s hard enough to fit in a workout, much less take time to stretch. Is it even needed anymore? The answer from Mayo Clinic is a resounding “yes”.
The Mayo Clinic says that, in general, stretching may help you:
- Improve range of motion in joints
- Improve athletic performance
- Reduce risk of injury
In fact, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that you stretch for 60 seconds on each major muscle group at least two times a week.
Staying flexible as you age is a good idea. It helps you move better.
To Hold, or not to Hold, that is the question.
The answer is both. According to the most recent research, dynamic stretching is best for warm ups, and static stretching is most effective for cool downs. In fact, some research indicates a decrease in athletic performance when using static stretches before a workout or competition.
A dynamic stretch, like the Cat-Cow, moves a muscle group fluidly through an entire range of motion. Dynamic stretches are meant to mimic the motions of the exercises that are forthcoming in the workout, but done at a slower pace in order to prepare the body for the workout.
- Start in hands and knee position
- Round your back, pulling your chest in and your shoulders curved forward.
- Next, arch your back so that your chest opens and your shoulders roll back.
- Repeat several times.
Stretching a muscle to the fullest extent of your ability and holding it for 15 to 30 seconds is known as a static stretch Static stretches can help to to increase the circulation to tired muscles and release tension that has built up.
- Begin on your hands and knees.
- Spread your knees wide keep your big toes touching. Rest your bottom on your heels if you have the flexibility. If you have tight hips, keep your knees and thighs together.
- Lengthen your spine up through the top of your head.
- Keep arms long and extended, palm down. Press back slightly to keep your bottom in contact with your heels.
- Broaden your upper back while allowing your lower back to soften.
- Hold for up 60 seconds, breathing softly.
- Release the pose by gently using your hands to walk your torso upright to sit back on your heels.
Smart Mats make stretching easy.
The 16mm Smart Mat has 14 Core Exercises printed on one side and 14 Stretching Poses on the other side for easy reference. The mat features a durable, non-slip surface and grommets for easy hanging storage.
Mat is 6-ft long by 2-ft wide.