Whether you are old or young, a great fun and easy stretching routine is essential to help keep you fit and injury free. We take a look at a few different stretching routines, including some helpful videos.
The debate surrounding stretching and exercise is unlikely to end soon, for years stretching was always encouraged after a workout.
It was seen as the perfect way to prevent muscle soreness and reduce injury risk.
Recently this advice has been challenged. Studies have shown that stretching after a workout may not be effective at reducing muscle soreness or stiffness at all.
Certainly, pre-workout stretching is now seen as a bad idea, with many experts claiming that stretching before a workout can actually harm training by prematurely fatiguing the muscles.
But post-workout stretching does seem to have some evidence backing it up.
A 2014 study found that static stretching led to increased blood flow to the muscles afterwards, while flexibility is also improved.
There may even be some improvement in post-exercise soreness.
If you’re looking to improve blood flow to the muscles after a workout, want to reduce some stiffness or soreness or you are interested in improving flexibility, a good warm down stretching routine can really help.
After finishing your workout, it is not always a good idea to jump straight into stretching, it depends what type of exercise you have been performing.
If your session involved powerlifting then you might want to cool down first with some cardio.
If your workout was just a walk around the park, then you probably don’t need much of a cool down!
Matching your warm down to your activity can help save you time, and it can also help make your cool downs more effective.
The next part of this article will provide different scenarios for young athletes and older athletes.
Taking a nice long walk is a great way for keeping fit and healthy in older age. To help keep you flexible and free of aches and pains, it’s always a good idea to do a gentle little warm down stretch or two afterwards.
If you have been walking for 60 minutes then the muscles that will be most affected will be the quadriceps, hamstrings, and particularly the calves.
If you’re out of breath after the walk then you should make a note to provide a cool down part of the walk in the future.
In this scenario there is no need for any dynamic stretching, just simple and easy to perform stretches that can fix an ache.
Start with a simple standing calf stretch, a (supported) standing quadricep stretch and a seated hamstring stretch.
Standing Calf Stretch:
Standing Quadricep Stretch:
Seated Hamstring Stretch:
In this scenario we are going to assume that you are a younger individual who has just completed a rigorous full body weights workout.
The first thing that you are going to want to do is cool down, you can either just walk it off, or jump on an exercise bike and pedal at a relaxed pace for a few minutes.
This will get your heart rate down slightly and help you get your breath back.
One of the best stretches for you to do is the cat/camel (also known as the cat/cow for some reason).
This is a great lower back stretch, it is quite dynamic, but also relaxing.
This stretch comes from yoga and it combines the relaxation of deep breathing with an active movement that encourages flexibility.
You can perform this exercise for 30 seconds, one to three times.
Lower Back Stretch (Cat/Camel):
Wall Chest Stretch:
You can also add in the stretches from scenario one into your routine, this should prevent aches across your body.
Altogether this cool down stretching routine should relax you, help you begin to recover from the vigorous workout and may also help reduce soreness and stiffness from the session.
Do you have any warm down stretching routine you love? if so we would love to hear about it in detail in the comments below….
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