Monday, September 28, 2015

How often do you stretch?

Disclaimer: The following post is sponsored by BOSU via my partnership with Fit Approach. All opinions are, of course, my very own.

Is stretching a huge part of your fitness routine? Or do you forget to stretch almost every time you exercise? If you fall into the latter group, you're not alone. When I give orientations at the gym, I finish up by stressing the importance of stretching. Most people respond with "oh, I never stretch," or they explain how they're not very good about stretching. But guess what—stretching is so easy and it doesn't take much time.

BOSUStrong, FitApproach, Sweat Pink. Hip Stretch, BOSU Stretch
Heck, it doesn't eve take much effort. But the effects of stretching go a long way.

Here we are in Week 3 of the #BOSUStrong challenge with Sweat Pink. (It's not too late to join the fun.) Last week, we focused on balance. The week before...cardio. So it only seems natural to take this entire week to focus on stretching. (And maybe some toning, too.)

Why should you stretch?

Think about an old, crusty rubber band that's been hidden in the bottom of your junk drawer for years. As soon as you attempt to secure some papers with it...SNAP. Right? It breaks because it hasn't been stretched in years and, consequently, has gotten used to its immovable state of being.

See where I'm going with this?

If you don't stretch, your muscles won't necessarily snap. But they certainly won't move as easily. And you do put yourself at risk for strains, tears and pulls. I'll spare you the scientific language. Trust me, you need to stretch. You need to lengthen your muscles. You need to pull them apart after you tighten them during your workouts. Gain strength when you lift weights—gain mobility when you stretch.

Don't be the old, crusty rubber band.

Here are some posts that I've written in the past that talk about stretching:

Stretching is essential.
5 Prenatal Stretches
Running Stretches

And here are some of my favorite ways to stretch:

1) I love to stretch my legs by doing a forward fold for hamstrings with a figure 4 hip/glute stretch, too. Because when you combine more than one stretch, it saves time...right? Also, it makes me feel super bendy...

Leg Stretch, Stretching, BOSUStrong, Fit Approach, Sweat Pink, FitFluential
2) My favorite total body stretch is a downward facing dog. Pretty obvious that this yoga pose rocks, and there are so many ways to modify and/or increase the intensity.

Yoga, Stretching, Downward Dog, Downward Facing Dog, Fit Approach, Sweat Pink. Pink BOSU, FitFluential
3) I swear that when I do sun salutations, it feels like all of my strength and flexibility collide in one mind-opening move.

stretching, yoga stretches, yoga poses, yoga, sweat pink, fitapproach, fitfluential
4) I try to stretch out of my comfort zone by working on my splits. I used to flop down into them so easily. In fact, the girls on my cheerleading squad used to put me at the top of the pyramid in splits. But these days, this is all I can muster up. So close, still so far to go:

Now, go and get your stretch on. Remember, active stretching (moving to get your muscles warm and limber) is the best pre-workout approach. Save the static stretching (holding still in a certain position) for after your workout. And don't bounce when you do!

If you want to follow the #BOSUStrong challenge on Instagram, here are this week's prompts:

Monday, September 28: Show us how you side lunge to work those inner and outer thighs.  BONUS: #jumpjoymonday, every single week!

Tuesday, September 29: What's your favorite total-body toning move? #tempotuesday BONUS: It's #triceptuesday again, so drop down and give us 20.

Wednesday, September 30: Grab a partner and show everyone how you tone it up together! BONUS: It's #workitwednesday, so show us how you're getting in a good stretch after your workout.

Thursday, October 1: It's #totalbodythursday, so show off your favorite total body stretch. BONUS: #tbt to a time when you really stretched outside of your comfort zone.

Friday, October 2: #FreeFriday! Show off your favorite stretch. BONUS: Celebrate #forearmfriday!

Don't forget to tag #BOSUStrong #FitFamily #SweatPink @BOSU_Fitness @FitApproach.

PS: Love the scenery in my photos above? I always try to pick a sweet spot, but today I thought "aw, hell" because this is my life. Fireplace. Toys. Furniture. Gotta keep it real!

Question: What is your favorite stretch? Are you good about stretching? Why or why not?

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