Just because were in the “off-season” of cycling (is there such a thing in Georgia?), doesn’t mean you should slack off on your stretching. A daily stretch routine and proper hydration are both vital to staying in tune with your body all year long.
Does Stretching Decrease Injury?
While there’s little scientific evidence that regular and controlled stretching reduces your risk of injury, most athletes say it staves off soreness and improves flexibility, mobility and range of motion. Stretching can also relax the body and improve posture.
How to Stretch Properly
Never stretch cold muscles. Just like a rubber band, a muscle is more pliable when it’s warm. Stretching cold muscles can cause harm and keep you from reaching your true potential.
Reserve static stretching (holding your stretches) for after your workout. Repeat all the muscle groups you did before your workout, but this time hold each stretch for about 15-30 seconds to help lengthen your muscles and improve flexibility post run.
Who Should Stretch?
For runners, walkers and cyclists alike, include an active warm-up or dynamic stretching as part of each pre-workout routine. Dynamic stretching involves slow and controlled movements and can include arm circles, hip rotations, squats and lunges. No matter what activity you’re into, you need to include all of your major muscle groups from your neck to your toes.
Don’t Over Do It
Don’t overstretch. Feeling pain during a stretch indicates that you have stretched too far. If it hurts to stretch, stop. If the pain persists, then you should see your doctor for a possible injury.