Stretch It Out

Workout of the Week
October 27, 2013 Updated: October 27, 2013

Stretching is important. If you already stretch frequently: Well done and keep up the good work! If you avoid stretching like cleaning the oven, here are some great reasons to embrace the habit today.

Five Reasons to Stretch

Decreases the Potential of Injuries

Nobody wants them and prevention is always better then a cure. No matter what type of exercise and training you do, no one can afford an injury.

Increases Muscle Flexibility

This means improvement in the mobility of joints which will enhance all types of exercise e.g. squats, lunges, pushups, or running. It also means you can move with greater ease feeling minimal tightness in your body.

Improves Your Posture

Having tight muscles in certain areas like the front of your hips, chest, thighs, and back can inhibit your musculoskeletal system from being in the right alignment. When you’re in the wrong alignment this means rounded, crooked shoulders, arched lower backs, and uneven weight through your feet. So keep your muscles free from tension, and feel the correct position within your body.

Less Soreness

Stretching decreases muscle soreness after exercise. I’m sure you all know the soreness I’m talking about. The worst thing you can do when your body is feeling the burn after a workout is to stop moving. The best thing you can do is to stretch it out. Stretching may be a little painful, but it will help reduce the muscles soreness.

Help Manage Stress

Tight muscles usually equal a sore, tight body. Physical tension leads to mind tension. Keep your body lengthened and supple to keep your mind free from stress and anxiety.

I hope these are reasons enough to persuade all you non-stretchers out there to add stretching into your regular routine. I have included four standard stretches that are a great place to start. For those of you who are already stretching it out, these four stretches may seem basic, but they are very effective. Stretching doesn’t have to be complicated to make a big difference.

Four Easy Effective Stretches

Quad Stretch

(Willis Lim/Brisbane Australia)

(Willis Lim/Brisbane Australia)

Grab your right foot in your right hand. Press your foot into your hand. You will feel this in the front of your thigh and across the front of your hips. It is good for balance as well because you will be left standing on one leg.

Hold between 30 seconds to 60 seconds; repeat on both sides.

Hamstring Stretch

(Willis Lim/Brisbane Australia)
(Willis Lim/Brisbane Australia)

(Willis Lim/Brisbane Australia)

Bend forward and grab one foot with both hands. Pull your toes toward your knee to enhance the stretch. You will feel this along the back of your leg.

Hold between 30 seconds to 60 seconds; repeat on both sides.

Chest Stretch

(Willis Lim/Brisbane Australia)
(Willis Lim/Brisbane Australia)

(Willis Lim/Brisbane Australia)

Clasp both hands behind your back. This will open up your chest and across the front of your shoulders. This stretch is perfect for helping improve rounded shoulders and upper back.

Hold between 30 seconds to 60 seconds.

Shoulder Stretch

(Willis Lim/Brisbane Australia)
(Willis Lim/Brisbane Australia)

(Willis Lim/Brisbane Australia)

Cross your right arm over your chest. With your left hand press onto the outside of your right forearm. You will feel this around your right shoulder.

Hold between 30 seconds to 60 seconds; repeat on both sides.

Emma-Kate Stampton certifies Pilates instructors and is a certified personal trainer. With nine years of industry experience she is passionate about sharing the gift of health and wellbeing. Emma-Kate is based in Brisbane, Australia.

RECOMMENDED