Stretching for fat loss
When it comes to fitness, and more importantly for most people , fat loss, stretching is most probably at the very bottom of your list of priorities. It’s neglected because you think stretching is not going to help you look good in a bikini??? Wrong!!!!
You see there is a whole lot more to stretching than just being able to touch your toes. Here I will explain a few key points on how stretching can help you achieve the body you want.
- Improved posture – Having tight muscles can lead to poor posture. Poor posture can effect muscle balance and over the long term can lead to complications, not only that it can actually make you look fatter than you are. When you are getting ready to go out, you look in the mirror before leaving the house, what is the first thing you do? Stand up straight, pull your tummy in and shoulders back, right?? Well that is what good posture should look like all the time. It should however feel more natural and not so forced. Having good posture can also really help to improve your image. Think about the people you know, those with good posture ooze confidence and appeal, those with bad posture seem withdrawn and less confident. Improved posture can help increase confidence and lead to better perception of your own body image. There is also some research that shows those with better posture are brainer!! Deeper breathing allows more oxygen into the brain, (there is hope for me yet)
- Physical and mental relaxation – as much as we want to train hard to get results if we don’t allow our body to rest and repair then you could be reducing the benefits of your training sessions. Stretching helps you muscles to regain length, and the process of stretching is calming for the mind and the body.
This calming effect can help reduce stress and build up of your stress hormone cortisol. Remember that excessive cortisol will mean that you will store more belly fat, which is bad right?? Especially when it comes to bikini time!!!
- Reduce the risk of injury – Tight muscles are far more prone to injury. If you are constantly training and not stretching adequately then your muscles will get tighter and tighter. Think of your muscles as an elastic band. What happens when the tension in an elastic band becomes too much?? It snaps!!!! Or in the case of a muscle it pulls or tears slightly causing you to get injured. What happens when you are injured, you generally sit on your arse and waiting for the pain to go away?? Sitting on arse generally means adding a few pounds (certainly does for me anyway)
So as you can see there are so many more benefits to stretching that you would think, and that is only touching on a few in the aim of keeping this article short.
So here are some tips for effective stretching
- Always make sure you are warm i.e after a workout or completed full warm up.
- Never bounce
- Relax into the stretch using deep breathing, increasing the stretch on the out breath. The more you relax the less painful it will be and you will be able to get a much deeper stretch
- Ensure you the whole body and equally on each side, you are tying to maintain balance. Rotate different areas on different days
- Hold stretches for a minimum of 30s for to increase flexibility
- Don’t be put off by your current ability, EVERYONE has the capacity to improve flexibility, it just takes patience and the ability to let go and relax. Believe me I find it hard to relax and stretching really helps me to enjoy a little time out.
I hope that this will encourage you to add in some relaxation and stretch into your weekly schedule and if you do have any questions you know where I am.
p.s if you do want to learn more about effective release techniques and to dig a little deeper into flexibility training then I am holding a workshop on the 28th July. If you book on you will also receive a FREE stretching DVD worth £15