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Oct 18, 2012

Healthy Living warms up with some stretches

Marleni Cuellar

It is accepted that exercise is important and necessary but what about stretching? There are many do’s and don’ts as well as when to and when not to. This week in Healthy Living, we get firsthand advice from a fitness instructor on stretching before exercising.


Marleni Cuellar

 “Laces tied; music ready; perfect day for a good jog. But what am I forgetting? There’s always a great debate about stretching before or after a workout. We’ll find out from one fitness instructor about his advice on stretching.”


Ed Williams, Health & Fitness Coach

“Imagine an old rusty rubber band and you wanna pull it out you haven’t used it in a while. You want to do some things with it. You want to stretch it. What happens? It breaks. Well muscles are kind of like that they have a certain amount of elasticity; if they’re not stretched and exercised properly before you exert them you can actually pull muscle, pull ligaments, pull tendons and stuff like that. And we’ve definitely seen a lot of those injuries. It happens a lot especially with people starting out with exercise programs.”


It is believed that stretching before exercising decreases the extreme soreness that you experience after a rigorous workout; some research suggest that it may have very little effect on how sore you’ll feel. While each experts seem to have a different opinion on the true benefits of stretching; most can agree that it flexibility exercises are important. The other common dispute is whether to stretch before or after a workout.


Ed Williams

Ed Williams

“My recommendation is both. Stretching should be a part of your warm up and stretching should be a part of your cool down. Depending on what stage of physical fitness you’re in should be an interim part of your workout itself.”


Marleni Cuellar

“What’s your advice for runners?”


Ed Williams

“Runners use mostly their lower body I guess so a lot of them think they only need to stretch your legs. It’s also important for them to do a full basic stretch. When you’re running you activate your upper body to a certain extent, your arms your shoulder your chest so it’s really important that they do some basic stretch.”


In a one hour workout, Williams suggest that twenty to twenty-five minutes be spent on stretching, warming up and cooling down. Here are a few basic stretches for you to incorporate in your exercise routine.


Ed Williams

“Starting from the top we can start with the neck. That is the seat of the tension. Stretches for the neck are more motion. You go forward and back. It doesn’t involve any jerking movement. It should be smooth. You kind of limber it up first. Apply the stretch bring it forward & back. Normally before we stretch, the shoulders we want to rotate them a little—forward and backward. There is one that goes across the chest and one that you turn your shoulders all the way in. You take one arm and stretch it across your chest and then the other arm traps it and pulls it in and then you feel the stretch on the outside. The other one is: you spread your legs, you rest your arms above your knees and then you turn your shoulders all the way in; swing the elbows around. One at a time. You take your one arm and you reach back for your shoulder blade and then you take the other arm and grab the elbow behind the head and hold it there.  We have the side stretch everybody knows that one. You want to reach over with one arm on your hip and bend all the way over. Then you have the forward and back stretches. Then the next you wanna do is you can spread your legs. Bend over and reach for your ankles. That will give you a good stretch of your back your hamstrings and butt. To get a little more, you can reach over to one ankle and power in. Basically you heel have to be off the edge of somewhere then you lower your heel and feel the stretch.”


Calves can also be stretched from a standing position. The last demonstration is stretching the hips.


Ed Williams

“From the position when you’re down on the ground stretching your ham. It is very, very, very important.”


Williams’ advises that if a specific muscle will be worked on; then additional stretches will have to be done for that area. A link to William’s free EBook on stretching will be available on our website.


Marleni Cuellar

“All stretched & ready to go”

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