“Man, my back hurts!”
– Every Person Over 30 who works out, ever.
If I don’t stretch every single day as an active dad who does 4-6 workouts per week, I am an absolute mess.
It wasn’t always this way. I remember even well into my 20’s– I could do whatever I wanted and I was hardly ever sore. If I was, give me one day and a night of sleep, and I was 100 percent again. Oh, man, those were the days!
I’m 39. My days of working out without proper stretching, warming up, and cooling down are over. Regardless of your age, your days of doing this should be over, too!
How can you get started with stretching? Here are a few strategies to try.
- Show up 5 minutes early to class
This one is probably the best bet for most of us. Instead of rolling into class as the coach is finishing their introduction, come a few minutes early and start rolling, stretching, and getting loose. The best part about this strategy is that if you aren’t quite sure WHAT or HOW to stretch to help whatever ails you, a coach is probably around to advise. Your gym could also have additional tools to help. At Lakeland Health + Fitness, we have foam rollers, TP balls, a theragun, and even compression sleeves that will improve your results. Now, we’ve started even adding suggested stretches at the end of every group fitness class to make sure you get it done!
- Make it a part of your home routine
This is my main strategy at the moment. Around my son’s bedtime, while I’m waiting for him to brush his teeth and put on his PJs (this can often take an eternity), I lay on his floor and stretch. It is a habit at this point, and it’s one that works. For you, find a time that you can do XYZ else and also lay on the floor and stretch. Maybe it’s while you’re watching your nightly TV show or doing your morning routine. Maybe its at your lunch break. Regardless, make it a routine so that it happens like clockwork.
- Use an app
If you can find the time to stretch, but you aren’t quite sure what to do, use an app to help. The two main ones I use are RomWod and GoWod. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, but they all do a great job of providing videos, techniques, and guidance on how to stretch properly and effectively. They’re not expensive, and both are cheaper than a single visit to the chiropractor.
- Get a trainer
A personal trainer like those we have on staff at LHF will ensure that you stretch and mobilize properly before and after each session. More than that, a certified trainer will also make sure that all of your movement patterns are good, your form is excellent, and that you are using proper weight resistance for each exercise.