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The Skinny On: Stretching

You push yourself to your limits when doing cardio, but do you stretch yourself to the limit afterward? Many trainers agree that people neglect regular stretching as part of their fitness plan and they're sorely (pun intended) missing its benefits.

I am here to tell you that a little stretching goes a long way. Stretching regularly helps prevent injury by increasing the range of motion of the joints and thereby improves performance. A muscle that can work through its full range of motion is a stronger muscle.

It also counteracts the tightness that happens just from your basic daily activities - like wearing high heels (these make your calves tight). Stretching keeps you limber, lithe and agile. Who wouldn't want that?

So now that you know more about the benefits of stretching, you're going to need to know how to do it. To learn a few tips on stretching,

  • Stretching should never, ever cause pain.
  • Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds, and it is great to repeat stretches if you have the time.
  • Don't bounce - you could hurt yourself.
  • Breathe.

Stretching regularly after your work out, when your muscles are warm, is a great way to maintain and gain flexibility.

Fit's tip: If you love wearing high heels but hate the pain after walking a day in them, try the stretch pictured above to stretch out your calves.

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mmtoto mmtoto 9 years
I personally love stretching because I feel so relaxed afterwards. I've gained so much flexibility as well; I stretch each day for approximately 15 minutes.
Fitness Fitness 9 years
Excellent question about yoga and stretching. Here’s Fit’s take. Yoga is great for creating and maintaining flexibility, but depending on what kind of yoga you practice you may want to supplement it with some stretches that target the groups of muscles that get tight in every day activities. For instance – if you practice ashtanga yoga you are working your chest and arms a lot, combined that with prolonged computer use and you’ll need a few pec stretches to release those overworked muscles. If you do any cardio, it’s a good idea to stretch your legs afterward because the muscles work so much you want to lengthen them out.
karmasabitch karmasabitch 9 years
I wonder if I should be doing other stretches aside from the yoga..
karmasabitch karmasabitch 9 years
Hmm, I do yoga every day so I assume that takes the place of stretching :?
stone_soup stone_soup 9 years
Calve stretching does help to keep your calves small. ____________________________________ Don't tick me off. Or you'll get it.
ttulip ttulip 9 years
Sometimes my toes cramp up from wearing pumps. It happened one day during yoga class and my instructor told me to pinch the hairline above my upper-lip to release the toe cramp pressure and it worked. The only bad thing was that my upper lip was red for 2 minutes. (^_^)
daltan daltan 9 years
I swear by stretching! It really does help for wearing heels. And it keeps you limber and agile, which is helpful for indoor sports in the bedroom. ;) Great post Fit!
Arthur Arthur 9 years
Hm, I never stretch and I've had two injuries this year....maybe I should give this stretching stuff a try.
DStirk DStirk 9 years
OH my god i love wearing heels and feeling sexy but i often opt out because my calves hurt so bad the next day. I am totally going to try this next time! Thanks fit!
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