Need to destress? This full body stress relief stretch video is here to help! In this 15 min light stretch, you’ll work into the most common areas of tension. There’s hamstring stretches, lower back stretches, neck stretches and glute stretches all in one total body stretch video. Come relax, destress and feel more flexible.
While this might seem like a basic question, there are many layers to stretching and how to do stretch exercises correctly that are not so obvious.
Stretch exercises are any movements (either static or dynamic) that are designed to release tension in the muscles and joints. When stretch exercises are static, it means they're non-moving and held for at least 30 seconds at a time to be effective. Dynamic stretches, on the other hand, are moving stretches that often mimic the movement patterns of the exercises in a workout in order to warm up the muscles. (More on both types further down this post.)
You should do stretching much more often than you think! Stretching is as important as the workout itself - sometimes more so.
If you really want to be pain-free and avoid injury, then you need to stretch for at least 3 to 5 minutes before AND after any workout. You should also do almost daily flexibility training for at least 5 minutes (the ideal is 10 minutes.)
Stretches that should be done almost daily include these: stretch for lower back, stretch for hip flexors, hamstrings stretch, calves stretch, glutes stretch, neck stretch and hips stretch.
It is essential to stretch before workouts. Muscles and joints do not respond well when you go straight from rest to heavy movement. That means that the more intense a workout (e.g. running or jumping), the longer and deeper your stretches must be in order to avoid shortening of muscles, incorrect movement patterns and injury.
Stretches before workouts should usually be dynamic (moving) and replicate the movement patterns that will be used in your workout. That means that if you're going to run, you'll want to do a few stretches that mimic the bend and lengthening of the legs during running.
The point of stretches before workouts is to warm up your muscles for movement in a gradual, safe way. It is NOT to get you sweating or bursting into movement.
There is a big difference between stretches before a workout and a warm up before the workout. This is why things like Jumping Jacks do NOT count as stretching before a workout. Those are explosive movements that need to be done AFTER some dynamic stretches first.
Usually 3 to 5 minutes of stretching before workouts will be enough for most types of exercise. If you're doing a longer workout (above 45 minutes) or a more intense workout (with running or jumping) then you'll want to extend your stretching time to up to 10 or 15 minutes.
One of the things that I commonly due in my short workout videos is to make the first exercise a dynamic stretch type movement that doubles as muscle activation for the area we're going to be working. An example would be doing a glute bridge before a bum workout. By designing the workout session in this way, I build the stretch directly into the training and avoid wasting too much time.
Stretches after a workout should be static (non-moving.) This is where you allow the body to ease into positions and hold them for at least 30 seconds at a time for full muscular tension release.
As with stretches BEFORE a workout, your stretch AFTER a workout should be at least 3 to 5 minutes. It should be longer if your workout is longer (above 45 minutes) or more intense.
When you stretch after a workout, you usually choose a few stretch exercises that target the muscle groups that were used during your workout. Common areas that should be focused on are: stretch for lower back, hip flexors stretch, hamstrings stretch, calves stretch, glutes stretch, neck stretch and hips stretch.
Note that there is a difference between a "cool down" and the stretches you do after a workout. A cool down is usually done after a cardio session and is intended to slowly decrease the heart rate before settling into stretches.
To get an idea of how to best stretch after a workout, try this 15 min full body stretch.
The relationship between tension in the body and tension in the mind is a strong one. Mental stress often shows up as tense or tight muscles - particularly around the neck, shoulders, hips and lower back.
When we don't address our mental stress it will almost always aggravate areas of tension in the body. The discomfort you feel has to go somewhere right?
This cause and effect can also go the other way, whereby a tense body - especially around the lower back, neck and shoulders - leads to physical discomfort, which then often leads to irritability and inability to relax; stress builds up easily with this kind of shaky foundation.
By physically releasing the tension in your body, you are moving the stress away. You are opening your body up so that you no longer hold this stress inside the muscles.
A daily stretch routine is ideal for stress relief, better sleep, better focus and better physical performance.
Pick a group of stretches which target your tightest areas and plan to do those stretches for at least 5 minutes each day (or even 10 minutes if possible.)
As you feel less tension, pain and resistance in these stretches, progress them into more advanced versions or different stretches. It's important to change your stretch routine up every few weeks so that you're continually increasing flexibility and lengthening the muscles.
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