When you stretch after a workout, you benefit both physiologically and psychologically. When you work out, lactic acid builds up in your muscles and this can lead to muscle fatigue and soreness. Stretching after a workout helps to reduce that soreness.
If you’re short on time, try these four stretches, and you will reap the rewards with a relaxed, injury-free body and a calm mind:
This is a basic and effective stretch. This stretch lengthens and realigns the spine, increases flexibility in the hips and lower back, and stimulates the digestive system, leaving you feeling energized.
Photograph of stretching exercise from The Stretching Handbook, 3rd Edition
Stretching the hamstrings can reduce the stress felt in the lower back and aid in improving posture. If your flexibility allows, you can increase the intensity of the stretch, by straightening the knee of the leg on the ground. Inhale deeply and exhale, and hold for 10-30 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.
This stretch opens your hips, realigns posture, and increases flexibility. Hold the stretch for 10-30 seconds. Repeat with the opposite side.
This stretch improves flexibility in the hips and quadriceps, and releases a group of muscles called the hip flexors.
Make sure you do at least these four stretches after your workout. Stretching will help your muscles to recover faster from a tough workout and prevent future injury. Take five minutes to relax the body and mind, and you will increase your flexibility, prevent injury, improve your posture, and feel relaxed and rejuvenated after your workout.
Article credit: Adapted from Holly Yates, www.mindbodygreen.com June 2015