Fitness for thought
You’ve just accomplished an exhausting workout and you're ready to go home and jump into the shower…but WAIT! Should I stretch? Nah, who’s got time for that?
Your stretching workout is equally as important as your resistance training and/or cardiovascular workouts.
Human movement is dependent on the amount of range of motion available in our joints. There are many factors and reasons for reduced range of motion only one of which is muscular tightness. Muscles can become tight and shortened through postural adaptation or scarring. They can also become tight due to spasm or contraction. Whatever the cause tightness limits range of motion and may create a muscle imbalance.
During exercise, whether it be a 10km run or a heavy power lifting session, your muscles are contracting, shortening and tension is elevating.
The re-lengthening process can only be done with warm muscles. Stretching with cold muscles will only relieve tension temporarily and could result in injury. When muscles are warm they are more pliable and can lengthen with ease creating a more lasting effect.
The most obvious benefit of stretching is improving flexibility (range of motion). By improving your range of motion your body requires less energy to perform the same movements. With more flexible joints the likelihood of injury acquired during your workouts will decrease.
Our posture! Stretching helps ensure correct posture by lengthening tight muscles that pull areas of the body away from their intended position. Keeping the spine and pelvis in alignment will help improve overall posture. Correct posture will relieve aches and pains and it will ensure your using the proper form and muscles groups during your workout.
By loosening the muscles and tendons during stretching this will increase your stamina, relieve muscle fatigue and increase blood flow. The longer you exercise the more energy you burn eventually leading to fatigue. With stretching you can delay the onset of muscle fatigue by ensuring oxygen is efficiently flowing through our blood.
Stretching promotes blood circulation. Not only could this reduce post workout soreness and shorten recovery time, but also it improves your overall health. Greater blood circulation helps promote cell growth, organ function and helps supply our muscles with the nutrients they need to function at their peak!
Set some time aside at the end of your workout to relax and stretch those muscles. Your Body and mind will thank you.
Sarah Koeslag BHSc, CSEP
Not all Personal Trainers are created equal!
I've heard both horror stories and praising recommendations of fellow personal trainers. Ranging from "I was injured during my sessions" to "They completely turned my life around!". What the general public needs to know is that you need to do your own research before hiring a personal trainer. Education and expertise vary from gym to gym.
Things you want to consider before selecting your trainer:
Ongoing education requirements and CPR renewals to remain certified are important.
Although most gyms require proof of certification before they are hired, anyone could claim they are a Personal Trainer with no certification at all! Who's going to stop you? Technically you don't need to undergo any certification. A hobby in fitness is much different than a career in fitness.
A good Personal Trainer uses a great deal of knowledge and applies it to a wide variety of individualized cases. Everyone is so different, there is no one way to train and achieve results. Knowing peoples quirks, personalities, motivators and bodies takes experience to be able to diagnose.
So, remember ASK QUESTIONS! There is a lot of value in having an experienced trainer by your side to guide you towards your new healthy life. Make sure you're happy with your decision.
-Sarah Koeslag BHSc, CSEP