Stretching is one component of fitness that often gets forgotten. While it is great to have a workout regimen you follow, it is not enough to only focus on cardio or strength exercises. A hardcore workout burns fat and defines the muscles, but it also makes your body stiff! That's where stretching comes in!
You may think of it as an exercise performed mainly by yogis and gymnasts. But everyone should do some stretching regularly to maintain flexibility and comfortable movement.
It is a practice that involves deliberately elongating and flexing muscles to improve flexibility, mobility, and overall muscle health. It promotes recovery, prevents the chance of injury during a workout, helps improve body posture and releases stress.
Stretching is doable with minimal equipment and below is our recommended list to fully equip you for a good stretch:
1. Yoga mat:
A yoga mat provides cushioning and a non-slip surface. It is comfortable and provides stability, especially when performing floor stretches or yoga poses. It is a versatile piece of equipment that can be used for other forms of workout as well.
2. Stretching roller:
A roller is a cylindrical tool that helps with self-myofascial release. It is used to apply pressure to different areas of the body to release muscle tension, tightness, and knots.
Note: In case of injury or specific health conditions, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating rolling into your routine.
3. Stretching strap:
Commonly used in yoga practice to improve flexibility and deepen poses, a yoga strap facilities or intensifies stretching exercises, providing more reach, as an 'extension' of the body, allowing you to stay in a stretched position longer.
4. Yoga block:
A yoga block is a prop commonly used in practice to assist with proper alignment, provide support, and enhance the overall workout experience. Yoga blocks are supportive equipment that provides stability and help modify stretches or yoga poses. They are helpful for beginners or those with limited flexibility, making stretching more accessible and comfortable.
5. Balance ball:
A balance ball is another versatile piece of equipment used for stretching and core strengthening exercises. It adds an element of instability, engaging additional muscles and enhancing the challenge and effectiveness of certain poses.
There are various stretching techniques like static, dynamic or ballistic stretching, and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching. Each technique has its advantages and considerations. Choose the kind that is appropriate for your individual needs and goals.
It's worth noting that stretching should be done safely and within your comfort zone. Avoid bouncing or jerking movements, and aim to hold stretches for a sufficient duration to allow the muscles to relax and lengthen.
Check out the Cycling Bears website and order your stretching equipment today.