Lift… Cardio… Core… Repeat. So, what’s missing? Stretch. Foam Roll. I have to admit, I am the worst at taking the time to stretch and foam roll. I warm up, hit the weights hard, work my core, and DONE! I go home. I wake up the next morning and can barely move because I am extremely sore! My muscles are so tight that at times it even affects my ability to lift to the fullest. Some of us have this mindset that we are all done after those three steps; Lifting, getting our cardio in, and hitting our core. But what about recovery? Isn’t that just as important? Taking those extra few minutes at the very end to stretch those muscles? What about fitting a Yoga class or Body Flow class into the equation? Why is it so difficult for us to take the time to recover? We take the time to work these muscles but never to recover them so they can continue to build. It’s the same as sleep. You work hard all day and at the end of the night you go to sleep. To rest your body so you can kick the next day’s butt! Why don’t we see stretching as the same? A way to rest our body, reset, and kick our next workout’s butt!
About a year ago I had x-rays done on my knees. I was convinced I had arthritis in both knees. I would wake up in excruciating pain and couldn’t get back to sleep without taking some sort of pain reliever and heating pad. There were some days I could barely walk and would limp because of the pain; so I made an appointment with my doctor. When the results came back I was shocked. He told me that my quadriceps were extremely tight from not stretching that they were actually pulling on my knee cap causing it to rub and cause the inflammation and pain I was experiencing. Something as simple as not stretching was causing this amount of pain! Pain that would wake me from a dead sleep! I couldn’t believe it! So I started taking a body flow class. I started taking the time to foam roll and stretch. I couldn’t believe the difference. Not only was there no more pain but I was lifting more. I was able to go deeper in my squats! I was more flexible than ever. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are days I slack. However, when I do, I can tell. My knees instantly flare up as a little reminder to me that I need to get back into a yoga class, body flow class, or stretch and foam roll on my own.
Stretching is so essential to our recovery and has so many benefits! Not only does stretching help to keep our muscles and joints healthy but it also elongates our muscles, increases our blood flow, prevents injuries, improves flexibility, helps us recover from our workouts, and let’s be honest here… it FEELS GOOD! Think of stretching as refueling the gas tank, or when you first go to use a rubber band; the rubber band is so tight you need to loosen it up prior to using it. Your muscles need that recovery to function properly, they need to be refueled, and stretched before they’re able to be used properly. Take the time to stretch; even if it’s in front of your TV at night before bed, or in the morning while your eggs cook on the stove. And if you dislike stretching, make it fun and take a Yoga class or Body Flow class. We have them here at Gold’s Gym in Webster throughout all of the week and they’re included in your membership. The best part about these classes is they’re for EVERYONE! Alan, a member of ours says: “I used to take body flow as a way to stretch and relax when I was lifting hard because my body needed it”. Make stretching a part of your day, just as you make brushing your teeth or showering, and I can promise you that you will feel much better, and you will be able to power through so much more with those muscles of yours!
Check out our Class Schedule at http://www.goldsgym.com/websterny/calendar/ to see when we offer our Yoga and BodyFlow classes to help you start stretching!