HFT / Streeeeetch it

12:00:00 AM

I used to take stretching for granted, and that's mostly because of the foolishness of youth. When you're young, you think you're invincible, that you don't need to take precautions because your body will recover anyway. That's true. But it's the kind of truth that, like, beauty, fades as you grow older.

At 26, I know that I'm still far from what falls under the category of old. I can actually run longer distances than I used to in college, and I can lift heavier things now because of the few months that I obsessed at the gym. But I have to acknowledge that I am no longer super girl.

It's not about what I can do, rather, about what I can recover from, and how. If I get injured because I didn't do proper warm-up, it will take me much longer to bounce back now. That being said, I was forced to appreciate the value of stretching.

Don't forget to do this AFTER the workout, too!
(photo from the internet)
Most people I know think that stretching should be done before a workout, without realizing that it should also be done after. Actually, you only need light stretches before a workout. You just need to loosen your muscles up a bit before intense physical activity and you should be fine.

After working out, though, you really need to take stretching to a higher level. Your muscles are incredibly tense at that point, and stretching will help them relax. It is at a relaxed state that your body is able to recover fastest. Also, your muscles get stronger and harder with each workout. That being said, you could lose flexibility if you don't stretch after strenuous exertions.

If you have an exercise buddy or a trainer, then you can definitely go for partner stretching, which I think is more effective than the sort you do on your own. We used to do this in the swim team, and I find that it's really effective in reducing post-workout pain.

So the next time you work out, don't forget to stretch before and after!


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