Stretching: Do stretches like this every week to improve your elasticity and turn your body into a relentless machine against fat.
Stretching as such is hardly calorie-intensive. But they are the key that improves your physical form to dare with increasingly complete calorie burner workouts, because how many times have you thought that you would take more advantage of dance or yoga classes if you doubled more?
Compared to static stretching, which consists of stretching everything that a muscle gives of itself and holding in that position for about 20 seconds, most coaches and sports scholars opt for dynamic stretching to gain elasticity.
What is a dynamic stretch exactly? “It is to lengthen and shorten the muscle as much as possible during an active movement, but without forcing at any time,” explains physiologist Juan del Coso from the Camilo Jose Cela University.
For example, to stretch your leg statically, you lean against the wall, bring your foot to your buttock and hold. Then you spread it out, try to touch the tip, and hold on. In the dynamic version, you move your leg back and forth and side to side, trying to go far without forcing.
De-numbing your muscles when stretching will take away pain from lack of movement, but it has another great added benefit: it allows you to gain a range of motion. If you only train strength or do a cardiovascular activity (running, dancing), some muscles will harden and shorten.
“We must incorporate dynamic stretching into our weekly routine,” explain Marta Gonzalez-Aller and Jorge Romeral, better known as @ 2_be_fit.
How should we do it? “Stretching a little at the end of class is fine, but try doing yoga or stretching sessions to gain a joint range of motion (that is, to have more elasticity and stretch or bend more).
This way, you will open the body, and the tissues gain flexibility”, say these experts. In other words, the idea is to combine cardiovascular and strength exercises with others that work on flexibility, such as yoga or Pilates.
The more flexible you are, the more exercises you can do, and you will have more weapons to combat accumulated fat. Think that when you are halfway through the execution of a movement, the teacher suggests an accessible version.
It costs you a horror, but you burn a few calories because the exercise is so simple. With a little flexibility, you access a wide range of increasingly complex workouts. And the higher the level of effort, the more calories burned.
It is rare for a palm tree to split in a hurricane. Rigid trees, on the other hand, tend to break. Your muscles work the same way: the more elastic, the less chance of breaking when you stumble or exert yourself too hard. By using elasticity, you prevent muscle breaks and avoid other types of injuries.
For example, we often squat poorly because the ligaments of the foot do not allow greater mobility. And repeating a poorly executed movement often overloads neighbouring joints or causes excessive friction in joints such as the knee. They are small mistakes that, by dint of repetition, lead to injury.
Dynamic stretches call for a calm performance (look at yoga or tai chi). The side effect is a reduction in stress and muscle release.
How to get it? Control your breathing and gradually unfold your body, without haste, without forcing. Visualize yourself as that palm tree swaying in the wind and let yourself go. Not only will you loosen your joints, but you will also reduce stress and, with it, the urge to eat like crazy.
Science is still not exact on what causes soreness. It is believed that it is a painful combination between small micro-tears in the muscle fibres because you have exercised harder (calm, normal process) and the consequent inflammation to repair the mess.
Science has proven that stretching does not eliminate them but that the smooth and fluid movement favours blood flow and accelerates recovery. So it would help if you stretched because the sooner the pain disappears, the sooner you can return to training without discomfort.
Hips. Spending many hours sitting limits the mobility of this joint and can become painful. There are various yoga movements to “open the hips,” especially the rotations that force the spine to bend forward.
Arms. Biceps, shoulders, and chest tend to shorten when you work on the computer. Interlock your hands behind your waist, and try to stretch your arms and raise them simultaneously. To extend your triceps, raise your arm, bend at the elbow, and try to touch between the scapulae with your hand’s palm.
Cervicals. On all fours, alternately hunch and relax your upper back, like a cat. That is why this exercise is known as the “cow-cat.”
Neck and shoulders. Start with shoulder rotations and continue to make imaginary circles with your head. Thus, you decongest the upper part of the back. When doing stretches, you have to know how far to go, how much time to spend on them, and how to get them to help you in your workouts.
Without pain. The first rule of all exercises is: if it hurts, don’t do it. If you notice a problem when you reach a point stretching, it is a sign that your body is not ready to go to more.
Helps. Room temperature can be an ally when it comes to stretching. There are yoga disciplines, such as Bikram, which are done in rooms at 40º precisely to facilitate extension.
Brief. You don’t have to lay out an entire session on them (although it can be nice once a week). Before your daily workout, you can dedicate 6-12 minutes to them. Just enough until you feel the muscles are ready to go.
Non-stop. To help you go a little further in your favourite sport, do them just before you start your training. Do not let more than 5 minutes pass, or its effects will diminish.
The body’s natural healing ability is powerful and can often be assisted by a well-timed…