Oklahoma Running Mom

Running in Oklahoma adds new meaning to the phrase "Hot Mama."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Stretching and Warm-up

I was out walking this morning with my daughter in her stroller (I know this is a running blog but I'm 9 months pregnant and not about to run...) and realized since becoming a mommy my stretching has gone out the window. Finding the time to exercise my heart is hard enough, but then to tack on extra time for stretching my other muscles has been too much. So when we got back from our walk I stretched while she played and I felt like I got a complete work-out. I dug out a big project I did in college on stretching and here's a very small portion of it to remind us all of the benefits of stretching!

What is a warm-up? A warm-up is a group of exercises performed right before competition or physical activity which increases circulation, raises the heart rate, and elevates blood flow. One can know he/she is warmed up by the onset of perspiration. A warm-up should cause the onset of sweating, but not fatigue.

Why do we need a warm-up? A warm-up is needed prior to stretching because the increase in body temperature increases tissue temperature, which causes the muscles and tendons to have more elasticity. Increased elasticity means a decrease in the risk of an injury.

What are the benefits of stretching?
• Increases overall physical and mental relaxation
• Increases an individual’s body awareness
• Reduces the risk of injury
• Reduces the risk of back problems
• Regular stretching after exercise reduces delayed onset muscle fatigue
• Reduces severity of menstrual cramps
• Increases blood flow and circulation to muscle tissue
• Increases range of motion
• Increases flexibility
• Increases joint motion
• Speeds up muscle contraction, therefore reducing reaction time and increasing speed.
• Allows for greater and freer movement

Stretch for at least 20 minutes/day, 5 days/week!

**Stretching is just as important as cardio and strength training
**The most improvements in flexibility are made when stretching after a work-out when your muscles are really warm.

Happy stretching!


Shawna said...

Oh wow!! I didn't realize you were that far along - you look great! When is your due date? For some reason I thought it was around my birthday (November) but I was probably sweating so much that day that I lost brain cells! Hopefully you'll be recovered and healed enough to join us when we start back in the fall!!

Oklahoma Running Mom said...

Thanks for the reminder Bek! Stretching is something I often forget too.