Cycle, Sculpt, Stretch
Busy schedule? We’ve all been there! If your day is jam-packed, it’s tempting to peel out after a high-intensity and challenging JoyRide class once the cardio is over. But when you leave class early, you miss the most important part of any workout: STRETCHING!
Setting aside time for a daily stretch session will help you manage stress, fatigue and will ultimately take your workouts to the next level. It also will improve your overall flexibility, which will enhance your body’s performance in class and decrease the risk of injuries. When we stretch, we enhance our range of motion and allow our muscles to work through any exercise more effectively. For example, focusing on a few extra quad and glute stretches will enable you to get down to a lower squat.
Whether it’s taking those last few minutes of class or taking at least 10 minutes a day to stretch at home, your flexibility will improve if you stick to a routine. When your muscles are warm after a workout (or even a hot shower!), it is easier to get into deeper stretches and feel less tight.
Don’t forget to set some realistic stretching goals for yourself! I am not talking about jumping right into a center split; it could be as simple as touching your toes! A great initial goal is to do ten minutes of extra stretching after class followed by your post-workout shower to loosen up any tension (in your hips, shoulders, etc.). The more consistent you are, the faster you will see results!
Take 5! Five Easy, Everyday Stretches:
1. Hip Flexors
Take one step forward into a lunge position; raise the same arm as your back leg towards the ceiling.
Balancing on your left foot, grab your right foot’s laces behind you. Gently pulling your heel towards your glutes, tuck your hips in. Find your balance and hold for 30 seconds. Release and repeat with opposite leg.
Open up your chest with arms out, cross one arm over your chest. Reaching for above or below your elbow (no pressure on those joints!), add a little tug. Roll your shoulder down to release any tension. Repeat with opposite arm.
Standing shoulder width apart, interlock your fingers with your palms facing you. Reach your hands forward to create a strong curve in your back.
Working in opposition of your upper back stretch, grab your wrist behind your back to lock your hands in place. Relax your shoulders down and slowly lift your hands up while reaching behind you to open up your chest.
Written by Hannah Carmody