Sunday, February 13, 2011

Feeling the good pain

You know, that tight feeling in your muscles...isn't it great!  Making the time to exercise, creating a balanced routine, and setting goals are hard enough, but add to that the muscle soreness that comes with adapting to that regimen, and it IS difficult to stay on track!

Stretching and flexibility are underrated!  Let's take my weekend for example - bootcamp yesterday and an hour's run today, a really good run.  How long of a stretch is enough?

Answer: A basic static stretch – holding the pose for an extended period – should last about 30 seconds. Anything less than 20 seconds won’t make a significant difference in lengthening muscle fibers and tissue; hold too long and you risk injury. While some recent studies suggest stretching doesn’t necessarily improve performance or decrease one’s risk of injury, the American College of Sports Medicine still advises stretching your major muscle groups two or three days a week. (Originally published in Fitness magazine)

Stretching breaks up the cycle of sore muscles which can go from soreness to muscle spasm to contraction and tightness.  But after much research I have come to understand that by no means should we stop exercising when we are sore!  Try some light exercise such as walking or swimming, keeping the muscle in motion can also provide some relief.

Soreness serves as encouragement in my workout program because I know I like immediate results. Muscle don't visibly grow overnight; something like soreness can give us encouragement that we are in fact working the muscle, yay!

Benefits of stretching (info provided by
Regular stretching is a powerful part of any exercise program.
  • Stretching increases flexibility. Flexible muscles can improve your daily performance. Tasks such as lifting packages, bending to tie your shoes or hurrying to catch a bus become easier and less tiring.
  • Stretching improves range of motion of your joints. Good range of motion keeps you in better balance, which will help keep you mobile and less prone to injury from falls — especially as you age.
  • Stretching improves circulation. Stretching increases blood flow to your muscles. Improved circulation can speed recovery after muscle injuries.
  • Stretching promotes better posture. Frequent stretching keeps your muscles from getting tight, allowing you to maintain proper posture and minimize aches and pains.
  • Stretching can relieve stress. Stretching relaxes the tense muscles that often accompany stress.
  • Stretching may help prevent injury. Preparing your muscles and joints for activity can protect you from injury, especially if your muscles or joints are tight.

No comments:

Post a Comment