You should still be stretching daily, even if it is cold.
We all know that it is important to stretch, but how many of us actually do it? We should be stretching daily, but it can be very easy to forget to stretch. This is especially so when we hit the colder fall and winter months and get swept up in the busy holiday season.
However, stretching does more for us than we think and it is imperative that we stretch daily as a form of daily upkeep for our bodies. Daily stretching provides a multitude of benefits like:
- Reduces chance of injury.
- Help you achieve better form during workouts.
- Helps relieve stiff muscles and aching joints.
- Builds up balance.
- Can boost your daily energy.
- Improve your posture.
- Can relieve mental and physical stress.
How should we stretch in colder weather?
We’ve gone over how important daily stretching is. However, how does this influence your winter workout routine? If you are planning on exercising during the winter, especially outdoors, you will definitely need to stretch because the cold tends to tighten muscles up further. Tight muscles = more likelihood of injuries.
A normal stretching routine needs some tweaking in the winter because of how our muscles react to the colder temperatures. Below we give a step-by-step guide on how to adapt your stretching schedule to the colder winter season:
- Warm up first. Stretch second. Stretching a cold muscle can lead to injury, so stretching prior to a run outdoors can do more harm than good. When it is cold outside, it is better to go through a warm up exercise like walking, jogging, or jumping to get the blood flowing to your muscles. This will warm up and loosen your muscles, which will make it easier for stretching later.
- Opt for dynamic stretches over static to keep blood flowing. Typically, when we stretch, we tend to go for stretches that are static. Static stretching is generally a stretch that helps to elongate and loosen the muscle, preventing a build up of lactic acid. Due to colder temperatures, it is better to utilize dynamic stretches instead of static. Why? To keep the blood flowing and your muscles warm. Dynamic stretching means a stretch is performed by moving through a challenging but comfortable range of motion repeatedly. This is usually done 10 to 12 times. Examples of dynamic stretches are lunges, jumping jacks, and squats.
- Taking a break in middle of work out? Embrace the dynamic. At some point and time, you may need a break during your workout. However, we need to remember to keep the blood pumping so we can keep our muscles warm and loose for when we continue our exercises. This is where doing more dynamic stretches come into play. You can also jog in place to keep that momentum going. It is imperative you keep your body temperature up, though, because it will not take that long for your muscles to tighten in the cold. Remember that tight mucles = more chance of injury.
- Cool down post-workout with static stretches. It may be cold outside this winter. However, a cool down post-workout is still essential for your muscles. This is where static stretching comes into play. Static stretching means a stretch is held in a challenging but comfortable position for a period of time. This is usually somewhere between 10 to 30 seconds. Examples of these are hamstring stretches, quadriceps stretches, and trunk rotations.
Do all four of these during the winter season and it’ll help you out.
Stretching is imperative to maintaining our body’s health and physical performance. Doing it daily can do more for us than we can possible imagine. It can be difficult to keep up with stretches, especially when it is cold out. Stretching is still possible though. To prevent injuries and maximum your muscles, keeping up with our stretches is essential.