Do You Stretch After Cardio?

30
Nov
The poses in this sequence will stretch and strengthen quadriceps, hamstrings, and hip flexors, in addition to calves, shins, gluteals, and back while strengthening your upper body, legs, ankles, gluteals, and core.

Karen Britton

Or Do You Run Out Afterwards?

Not stretching after your workout may not be the wisest choice. It may cause damage to the body. You’ll need to read this article and watch the video for short, and simple Post-Cardio Stretches.  Without stretching, you can increase tightness allowing muscles to pull on joints, causing significant pain.

Reduced flexibility in muscles and joints leads to a change in biomechanics or normal function and contributes to increased tension at the tendon. Example, someone with tight quadriceps will develop Patella Tendonitis in the knee because the tight muscle pulls on the tendon attachment at the Patella (knee cap) creating increased tension, inflammation, and pain.

Not stretching your hips flexors and hamstrings can lead to tightness in these muscles, which can also cause knee pain. Stretching, lengthening and strengthening quadriceps, hip flexors and hamstrings are prescribed exercises after running, walking and cardio workouts. Without allowing yourself this small bit of time to stretch, it will cause more pain than good.

Our hip flexors are a combination of two large muscles.  In the interest of keeping it simple, understand they both connect to lower back. Stretching helps keep the muscles in balance, and this can release tightness and lower back aches, and help prevent them after your workout. They are stretched in the high lunge pose, or warrior one. You can keep the heel of the extended leg off the floor if you’re a beginner or have knee issues. The extended leg can also have a bend in the knee and straighten gradually.

The poses in this sequence will stretch and strengthen quadriceps, hamstrings, and hip flexors, in addition to calves, shins, gluteals, and back, while strengthening your upper body, legs, ankles, gluteals, and core.

Stretching is especially important as the weather cools down.

Once your body gets cold, your muscles tighten up, increasing your risk for injury.  Keep your muscles loose and limber with this short and simple post-cardio stretch sequence. It will help prevent pain as you continue on with your day or evening, you’ll feel relaxed and peaceful.

Watch the Video:

This mini-sequence takes less than ten minutes. Can be repeated should you have time.  Do not bounce while stretching. This could cause muscles to tear, which can lead to scar tissue, tight muscles, decreased flexibility and increased soreness. The best time to stretch is right after your workout when your muscles are warm and pliable. Do not stretch too quickly, too far, or too eagerly. Modify the poses and build up slowly. If you feel tight, don’t fight or force the stretch. Relax and breathe into it. Over time you will gain flexibility. Breathe with awareness, and hold each pose and each side for about 5 to 10—slow, long breaths. It’s best to go slowly and breathe mindfully into stretches. So you can feel the nuances of poses and listen to the response of your body.

It’s important to watch the video a few times and become familiar with the poses, modifications and the correct way to align the body and hold them.

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About the Author

Karen Britton

Karen Britton

Karen Britton is a certified Yoga Instructor and a regular contributor to Fit to Print. She teaches Yoga classes and programs at Fitness Incentive.

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