Stretching is an active recovery technique that can help the muscles become stronger, longer, and more relaxed. While it has been debated whether or not stretching helps prevent injury (or even creates injury), there are several benefits of stretching on a daily basis.
Whether you are swimming, biking, or running, most of us can use some help with flexibility. Flexibility can be useful to increase athletic performance, especially on the bike using the aero position. The more flexible you are, the farther down you can be positioned on your aero bars, the more aerodynamic you will be, and therefore the faster and efficient you will be. In swimming, Ankle flexibility is very important but difficult to do. It should be mentioned that stretching your ankles can be risky for injury and should be preceded cautiously.
Not only will stretching your muscles improve circulation, but the actual ACT of stretching is a low level aerobic activity that will improve circulation as well. This will increase recovery and hopefully performance in subsequent workouts.
Stretching can be a great way to relax and wind down at the end of the day. If you suffer from mild cases of certain insomnias (like having difficulties falling asleep) you may want to include a quiet stretching routine before you head to bed.
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When to Stretch
- · At the end of a day
- · On an off/recovery day
- · When you feel very tight
When NOT to Stretch (static)
- · When muscles are seriously sore
- · Before any workout
- · Immediately after difficult/long workouts
Stretching when the body has already stretched itself out or is already damaged is a sure way to damage the body more. Also, stretching before workouts decrease the potential power production those muscles can create. Take a look at MCT Triathlon’s Video Stretching Special below for a great daily head to toe routine!
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