Stretch it Out: How to Build the Perfect Post-Exercise Stretching Routine

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Do you ever feel exhausted after you’ve finished working out? Are you looking for ways to get fit without getting tired in the process?

Surprisingly, only about 20 percent of American adults get the recommended amount of exercise each week. That’s about two and a half hours of moderate aerobic exercise. 

If you’re getting cramps or stomach pains after working out, you might want to look into a new stretching routine. In this article, we’ll share some of the best stretches to combat workout fatigue.

Is Your Workout Wearing You Out? 

You might already be doing stretches, but are you doing the right ones? Your body will let you know if it’s feeling over-worked after a workout. 

In general, you should be doing 15 minutes of cool-down stretches for every hour you work out. Your body also needs about five minutes of warm-up stretching and constant hydration. 

You can tell if you’re pushing yourself too hard by taking a look at how you feel the day after you work out. If you have a hard time waking up or you feel dehydrated and sore, you may want to develop a new stretching routine. 

Benefits of Daily Stretching

The great thing about stretching every day is that you get a low-resistance workout without going to the gym. Even when you’re not lifting weights or using a machine, you’re still improving your posture, flexibility, and stamina. 

Stretching is also a great way to start working out. If you’ve never gone to the gym before, see if you can get into a local yoga class.

The teacher will help you gently stretch your body into different postures, relaxing you and building strength at the same time. 

Yoga works quickly to lower your levels of cortisol, the hormone that governs stress in your body. It allows your body to overcome its “fight or flight” reflex and generates internal balance and peace

If you want to lose weight, stretching is a great place to start. Warm up for five minutes with gentle stretches, walk for 15 minutes, and then cool down for 10 minutes. 

Above all, never push yourself past a point of comfort. If you feel pain, that’s a sign to slow down or stop. 

Stretches for Beginners

In addition to yoga, dance is a great way to improve your flexibility. Before you dance, however, make sure that you warm up with a few quick stretches. 

First, lace your fingers together and reach as high above your head as you can. Keep the stretch going for a count of 10 and exhale deeply as you stretch. 

Next, bend at the waist and reach your hands toward your toes. You may not be able to touch them right away, but you’ll be relaxing your lower back before you get into your exercise routine. 

Another simple stretch for beginners is to take light weights and hold one in each hand. As you twist from side to side, use one hand to punch into the air. 

You don’t have to use heavy weights or push yourself too hard. Just do what feels comfortable and try to build on it week after week.

Best Leg Stretches for Office Workers 

After you build some flexibility, it’s time to examine your exercise routine. If you’re stuck at work all day, can you still build muscle and practice your stretches?

Absolutely! All you need to do is to take a five-minute break every hour or so. Take a quick walk around the office and then do a few stretches at your desk. 

If you’re typing all day, make sure that you’re massaging your fingers and wrists. If possible, try to get an ergonomic keyboard and mouse to prevent repetitive motion injuries. 

Also, take a few minutes to massage and stretch your neck each day. Let your head relax back into your hands and try to turn it back and forth.

You might be surprised at how much flexibility you lose when you’re in front of a computer all day. 

Even if your flexibility isn’t what it used to be, you can always get it back. 

Stretches for Runners and Athletes

If you’re very athletic, you may already have a stretching routine in place. Even if you’re used to the exercises you’re doing, you may want to talk to a physical therapist or sports doctor if you’re having pain. 

If you’re having foot and tendon pain, you could have a condition called “plantar fasciitis.” The condition involves an inflammation of the tissue on the soles of the foot and is most common among runners. 

Plantar fasciitis can be treatment-resistant, but stretching can absolutely help you minimize your risk. If you already have it, check out these stretches to help with flexibility and pain management. 

Surprisingly, walking on your toes can help you with this condition. You can also do lunges to help build up your leg strength and stretch the soles of your feet. 

If you suspect that you have plantar fasciitis, talk to your doctor and get a referral to a physical therapist as soon as possible. 

How to Start a New Stretching Routine

Starting a stretching routine is as easy as waking up in the morning. Before you get out of bed, take five minutes to do a whole body stretch. 

Focus on your toes at first and clench them as tight as you can. Release, and then squeeze again. Make your way up your body, tensing and releasing each part of your body. 

By the time you get to your neck and head, you should be feeling a sense of relaxation and relief. Get out of bed, stretch your arms up over your head, and try to touch your toes. 

Combine gentle stretching with deep breathing and you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to meet your weight loss goals. 

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