How to Make the Most of Your Post-Workout Stretch

Photo by Charlotte Karlsen on Unsplash

Stretching after a workout may seem like a waste of time to some, but it’s vital in helping cool down your body and returning blood pressure and flow to its normal state. It can also help move lactic acid out of your muscles, which reduces soreness and is important for muscle maintenance. So, here are some tips for post-workout stretching effectively.

Static Stretching

Most experts suggest dynamic stretching before a workout and static stretching after a workout. That’s because dynamic stretches help warm the muscles up and get used to moving through the motions you’ll do during exercise, while static stretches take advantage of your warmed-up muscles to improve flexibility as well as cooling down your body and returning the muscles to their natural state.

Take Your Time

When you’re finished with your workout and all you want is to hit the shower and rest, you may feel like skimping on stretching is worth the time saved. But it’s not! Good static stretching requires holding your stretches for enough time that your muscles can recover and can benefit from the flexibility training—usually between 10 and 60 seconds depending on the stretch.

Don’t Push too Hard

Remember that you should only stretch to the point that it’s useful, and not farther. It can be tempting to focus on trying to touch your nose to your knee or to touch your toes, but you should never put those over comfort. If you feel any amount of pain you should always pull back—you should absolutely feel the stretch, but it shouldn’t be painful or unnatural. Stretching too far can lead to injury and pulled muscles.