Many people put flexibility and stretching exercises on the back burner. It’s a low priority that’s only paid any attention when they’re sore or stiff. Occasionally, they may do a few hamstring stretches before a hike or a run, but even that’s rare. If you don’t spend some time focusing on mobility, you’re hurting yourself. Stretching is important.
There are two things that cause your body tissues to shrink and tighten; age and exercise. The occasional pre- or post-workout stretch usually isn’t enough to combat this. In fact, most personal trainers and Crossfit coaches will tell you that mobility work is just as important as your regular workouts.
There are a number of ways you can integrate mobility and stretching into your week. You can take a yoga or Pilates class. These classes work your entire body, so you know you’re getting a full body mobility workout with either type of program. You’re also increasing strength.
You can adopt a pre-workout warm-up and a post-workout mobility routine. For example, if you’re going to go for a run you might do a few squats, mountain climbers, and scorpions to warm up your leg muscles. After the workout you might use a foam roller to roll out your IT bands, your hamstrings, and your calves. There are also many online video programs that demonstrate daily mobility workouts.
Focusing on mobility, stretching, and flexibility provides a number of benefits:
Take a look at the options available to you. Yoga and Pilates are popular and there are likely many classes available in your community. You may also enjoy creating your own daily stretching program. If you exercise on a regular basis then be sure to warm your muscles up properly and to stretch them after your workout. Your body will thank you.