From running meetings after meetings, having a quick lunch between calls, going to happy hours with friends to preparing dinner for the family, we are all trying to squeeze a workout without really thinking about how our environment and daily activities impact our posture and range of motion.
While studying for my NASM certification, I learned a lot about the importance of posture in order to produce effective and safe movement and avoid injuries. Before stepping back into my fitness routine, I focused on bringing more stretching and corrective exercises, as well as more yoga classes to work on my flexibility and improve my alignment.
Sitting all day behind my computer has contributed to create muscles imbalances and poor flexibility especially on my hips and upper back. I realized that in order to be more efficient in my workout and activate the muscles I target, I needed to incorporate stretch sessions into my fitness journey. But there are more benefits that you should consider for your overall well-being.
Here are 5 benefits you can get from stretching on a regular basis:
- Wake you up during the day: Have you ever felt a little bit sluggish during an afternoon full of meetings? Standing up, moving around and stretching will make your blood flows and will improve your energy level (so you won’t need this extra cup of coffee to help you go through the rest of your day). And with a body and mind more alert, you will be more productive.
- Activate muscles before a workout and reduce muscle imbalance: it helps to ensure a better posture by lengthening tight muscles. And with a better form, you will make the most of your sweaty session. Think about your squat - by stretching before your session, you can go deeper and be more efficient and have great results.
- Enable flexibility and reduce risk of injury: By stretching your muscle regularly and being aware of your movement, you will more likely avoid bad injuries. You can easily include some dynamic stretches during your warm-up and be safe during your workout.
- Reduce soreness: Stretching increases blood flow which increases the nutrient supply to the muscles and relieves soreness. Never skip a stretch session (even a short one) after your workout, your muscles will thank you.
- Help you to reduce your stress level: As it relieves tight muscles and so tension. Tension can have a negative impact on mind and body. Think about the neck pain that you’re suffering from while working on your computer the whole day and how much stress you put on your body.
I also love using a foam roller and a trigger point massage ball to complete my sessions and get a full and deep stretch in some particular areas. After spending years seating behind a computer all day long, I developed what’s called upper and lower crossed syndromes. These are the results of poor posture (think about your head going forward while looking at your phone or your butt always sitting on a chair without proper movements) and can lead to muscles imbalance and over-stress on the joints. So make sure to schedule enough time to properly stretch.
What you put in your plate can also play a role when it comes to joint & bone health. I discovered Vital Proteins and I have been using their products for almost a year now. You’ve probably already heard about it, especially after Jenifer Aniston revealed that her morning routine includes this smoothie packed with collagen powder. Beyond all the beauty benefits (improve skin elasticity, restore skin’s moisture), collagen has a lot of health benefits (promote joint and bone health, improve digestion…). It is naturally present in our body - muscles, bones, skin, blood vessels - but as we aged, our body’s collagen production naturally slows down (hello wrinkles!) and we need to find other ways to fight the signs of aging.
While working on my flexibility, I found it beneficial to include supplements that promote joint & bone health to help me increasing mobility and flexibility of my joints. Along my (new) fitness journey, I have been dealing with joints issues and muscles imbalances (thank you long hours at the office) and by incorporating collagen into my diet , I have been able to increase my mobility and recover faster from my workout and I’ve noticed my body is capable to heal quicker (I don’t even mention the serving of protein you get).
I just add collagen peptides everywhere. The unflavored Collagen Peptides is just so easy to use and doesn’t add any flavors to your preparation. I love it in my smoothies or my lattes.
My favorite right now: the vanilla + coconut water collagen peptides that gives this delicious flavor to my drinks or oatmeal, and it includes probiotics as well (perfect for a healthy gut!).
I would love to hear what’s your favorite routine to promote flexibility.
For those who don't live in the US, you can order your dose of collagen on Iherb.com