Jason quoted in Cosmopolitan Magazine

Jason Kozma quoted in Cosmopolitan magazine

Jason Kozma quoted in Cosmopolitan magazine

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Why Stretching Helps with Weight Loss and More Effective Workouts

You run on the treadmill, you lift weights; you even do stairs from time to time. You are proud that you made it through another workout, but did you consider stretching those muscles you worked so hard during your workout? I recently noticed that stretching has gone by wayside with most trainers and popular fitness programs. I’m a big fan of stretching; it is as important as your workouts and should be a regular part of any exercise program.

Cardio and strength training actually cause your muscles to contract so we need stretching to lengthen our muscles, increase the flexibility and improve our performance. Balance is also quite important especially with age and proper stretching will keep your joints in good shape and help prevent injuries. A good stretch will increase the blood flow to our muscles and speed up the recovery after strenuous strength workouts, plus decrease muscle soreness. An added bonus: stretching is good for our state of mind as it relieves stress and relaxes the muscles.

  1. Warm Up. Never stretch cold muscles. Warm ups are essential because cold muscles pose the risk of injury. Walk slowly, move your arms and legs before beginning to stretch.
  2. Stretch before and after your workout. I recommend light stretching before exercising and a more rigorous one afterwards.
  3. Hold Stretches for 30 seconds. But if a muscle is tight, you might want to hold for up to a minute because it takes time to lengthen tissues safely.
  4. Hold a pain-free stretch. Don’t force a stretch beyond mild tension. If it hurts, you might have gone too far.
  5. Breathe slowly. Don’t hold your breath.
  6. Stretch both sides. This assures equal range of motion on both sides of your body.

Make stretching a part of your routine and you will also notice how much better your posture will get. Relaxed muscled will help you reach better health and look younger.

And now, here are the stretches I recommend. I’m a fan if seated floor stretches like side lunging stretch, quadriceps stretch and pigeon stretch. Sitting on the floor, place your legs straight out in front and reach for toes. Then, legs out to the side (I call this Van Damme stretch) go to middle, left and right. Continue with one leg straight, the other in Indian stretch position. Do leg stretches daily for 1-2 sets of 60 + seconds each.

Upper body stretched should include Chest, Lats, Shoulders: across body, over head, Biceps, Triceps and Forearms.

Remember, consistency is the most important thing; the more consistent you are, the better shape you will be in.

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