Sometimes we just don’t have time to stretch. We rush through our workout and tell ourselves that we’ll stretch later, and then later never comes. The best time to stretch is directly after a strenuous workout, when your muscles are warm and you’ll benefit from increased blood circulation.
When you stretch after a workout, you benefit both physiologically and psychologically. When you work out, lactic acid builds up in your muscles and this can lead to muscle fatigue and soreness. Stretching after a workout helps to reduce that soreness.
For the mind, stretching gives you a chance to tune into how your body is feeling. You breathe through a stretch and listen to your body. How am I feeling? Do I need to stretch a little further here or more there? The mind-body connection is important for stress relief and relaxation.
If you’re short on time, try these four stretches, and you will reap the rewards with a relaxed, injury-free body and a calm mind: