I love stretching. I love Yoga and Pilates for the simple reason that i get a good stretch. I feel taller, my muscles feel more limber, I ache less after a brutal work out. I love love love stretching. If you think you do not have time for stretching you are really really really mistaken. You do not have time not to stretch. Stretching, increases blow flow to muscles and the range of motion in your joints to prevent injuries. It improves your flexibility and helps to improve coordination, and anyone who knows me knows that I need help with that.
I know I say this in almost every post of a work out but before exercise you should WARM-UP which consists of stretching exercises for a minimum of 5-7 minutes. So jog in place, do high knees, do jumping jacks then stretch! Stretching will prevent injuries while you are working out.
After exercise you should COOL-DOWN, move side to side slowly, do some punches, gradually bring your heart rate back down then stretch for of 5-7 minutes (longer if you have time, I like to do a good 10-15 min stretch after a long workout). But this time your muscles are nice and warm and your flexibility is wayyyy greater. A good test is to do the same stretches for cool down that you did for warm up and see how much farther you are able to bend, and move. Not only will your flexibility increase but stretching will help you not feel so sore after an intense work out!
The right way to stretch is slow and relaxed. DO NOT BOUNCE. This can actually cause you to pull the muscle you are trying to stretch. You should stretch to the point of "MILD TENSION". If you overstretch you will also cause damage. Back off if the stretch feels painful. Hold the stretch for a minimum of 15 seconds each BREATHE slowly and naturally. Relax the stretch. Stretch one or two more times with each stretch. Try to stretch a little further with each stretch.
Stretches for side of neck:
Stretches side of neck
Stretches back of neck
Stretches side of shoulder and back of upper arm
Stretches shoulder, middle back, arms, hands, fingers, wrist
Stretches triceps, top of shoulders, waist
Stretches middle back
Stretches front on thigh (quadriceps)
Relaxes hamstrings, stretches calves, achilles, and ankles
Stretches inner thigh, groin
Stretches side of hip, hamstrings
Stretches lower back, side of hip, and neck
Stretches back of leg and lower back
Stretches shoulders, arms, hands, feet and ankles
Enjoy the stretch! Have a very fit day!