Do you always stretch after you’ve exercised? Most of us know we’re supposed to, but we bet there are times when you’re in a rush, or when you think missing it just the once won’t harm, or when you would simply rather sit on the sofa and vegetate. We’ve all been there! But the thing is, stretching is arguably more important than the workout itself, certainly in terms of looking after your body and supporting it to be able to continue exercising in future.
In this article we’re going to delve a little deeper into the reasons why we should stretch after exercise as well as exploring how using a massage gun could help with our stretching and at the same time review the Bob And Brad Q2 Mini Massage Gun. Let’s get started!
The Importance Of Stretching After Exercise
Whether you’ve done a gym workout, running, cycling, swimming, team sports etc., it doesn’t matter what exercise you’ve done, it should always be followed by a cool down session that involves some form of stretching. This could be in the form of static stretches where you stand, sit or lie still and hold a stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds. Or dynamic stretches, which involves controlled movement to stretch the muscles to their full potential.
There are many reasons why we should stretch after exercise. Here are the most important ones:
- Reduces Lactic Acid – Lactic acid is created by the body when it breaks down carbohydrates for energy i.e. when we exercise. One of the side effects of lactic acid is that it can make our muscles sore, which means when we stop exercising we need to try and get rid of it as soon as possible if we want to avoid those aches and pains. Stretching helps reduce the accumulation of lactic acid, which in turn allows the muscles to recover and repair more effectively.
- Increased Range Of Motion – When we stretch after exercise it helps to lengthen our muscles and longer muscles means more flexibility and increased range of motion in our joints. This not only improves our athletic performance but it also makes performing everyday tasks such as reaching for objects, bending over, going up and down stairs etc., much easier.
- Reduced Risk Of Injury – Our muscles get tight when we work them and unless we stretch to help make them flexible again it can put us at a much greater risk of injury. Stretching helps to limit the amount of strain put on muscles and joints.
- Prevents Aches And Pains – Some people believe that muscle aches are the sign of a good workout, but this is really not the case. If your muscles ache it’s because you’ve worked them too hard and not stretched them out enough afterwards. Trigger points are sensitive areas of tight muscle fibers, which can form in your muscles if you overuse them, and this will be painful. Stretching helps to relieve the muscles while at the same time keeping them strong and healthy.
- Improves Performance – If you look after your muscles by stretching them after exercise, making sure they’re not overworked, and recognising when they need a break, your performance should improve. If you have achy, sore muscles and joints you are much less likely to exercise to your full potential. And if your muscles are tight you are less capable of doing some of the more explosive moves. Flexible joints and muscles help our balance, co-ordination, and overall athletic performance.
- Improved Heart Function – Taking the time to stretch after a workout not only helps our muscles but it also allows the body to cool down and for our heart beat to return to a normal rate.
- Relaxation And Stress Relief – Stretching also helps to calm the mind and relax the body, which is good for our overall wellbeing.
The Benefits Of Using A Massage Gun To Stretch After Exercise
Muscles and tendons that aren’t stretched enough after exercise can be at risk of injury. And even if you don’t injure yourself you’ll likely experience some degree of aching. Now, the problem is you won’t necessarily feel the aches straight away after exercise and so you might not feel the need to do any stretching. You are most likely to feel the DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) a day or two after you have done an intense workout, by which time you’ve already done the damage. So, it’s really important to get into the habit of stretching after exercise and the easiest way to do this is by incorporating a 10 minute cool down into your workout routine.
Massage guns can be used to improve the depth of a stretch and to reach muscles that might not be reachable through stretching alone and because of this should improve your muscle and joint flexibility. One of the greatest benefits of using a massage gun after exercise however, is that the percussive motion of the gun increases blood flow, which helps reduce the risk of muscle soreness or helps to alleviate it if you’ve already got it!
The type of therapy that massage guns deliver to the muscles, is incomparable to what we could achieve through stretching alone. Vibration therapy targets both small and large muscle groups to provide muscle recovery, joint mobility, flexibility, stress relief, and boosted immunity. When you use a massage gun on your body, the vibrations create a kind of rippling effect on your skin and it is this motion that stimulates blood flow to the area you are using it on. This fresh blood contains higher levels of oxygen and nutrients which promotes optimal muscle recovery, exactly what your muscles need after they have worked hard and been placed under extra stress. Massage guns can also aid lymphatic drainage, which alongside increased blood flow helps to reduce swelling and inflammation.
Using a massage gun can also provide significant mental health benefits and emotional relief by helping to reduce stress and anxiety. When we are stressed, it can cause the body to hold onto tension in our muscles. You may have noticed that your neck, shoulders or back feels achy or stiff after a tough day at work, or simply because you’ve been sitting at a desk all day. Massage guns can be used to alleviate that tightness and relieve any sore areas by releasing tension and fluid within the muscles.
Bob And Brad Q2 Mini Massage Gun Review
We reviewed the Bob And Brad C2 Massage Gun earlier this year and so we’re interested to see how the Bob And Brad Q2 Mini Massage Gun compares. First and foremost, there’s a size difference. The Q2 is, as the name would suggest, a mini compact version. But don’t for one minute think that its diminutive stature takes away from its capability. This is a petite powerhouse of a massage gun, with all the features of the C2 captured in miniature. And what this means is that it’s way more portable, making it ideal to use when you’re on the go. Whether that’s taking it with you to the gym, on holiday, to sports tournaments, competitions, running events or fitness retreats etc., this pocket sized massage gun can easily come along with you.
It comes in its own handy carry case, which contains the massage gun itself, 5 interchangeable heads (which we’ll talk about some more in a moment), a USB charger, and an instruction manual to help get you started. It takes 3.5 hours to fully charge and can then be used for 4 hours, which is going to last you a long time as you’ll only be using it for a short while each time.
The Q2 Mini Massage Gun comes equipped with 5 different detachable heads. Each head offers a different type of massage aimed at targeting different muscle groups and areas of the body.
- Ball head – Best for large muscle groups like quads and glutes.
- Bullet head – For use on joints, deep tissue, trigger points (sensitive areas of tight muscle fibres), meridians (energy pathways that run through the body), the palms of the hands, and soles of the feet.
- Fork head – Ideal for neck, spine, and shoulders. Also works well on sensitive muscles and soft tissues like the Achilles tendon.
- Flat head – The all-rounder. This one’s suitable for all body parts
- Air Cushion head – Use this on sensitive body parts and muscles for the ultimate in relaxation.
This wide range of massage heads targets every muscle group in the body, meaning you can benefit from a full body massage in the comfort of your own home. Now, obviously you need to know what you’re doing and you should always spend some time reading through the instructions before using any massage gun. The instructions that come with the Q2 are easy to understand and we particularly like that there are some examples of how to use the gun on specific muscle areas.
It has 5 speed levels, which each provide their own benefits.
- 1800 rpm – muscle recovery
- 2100 rpm – muscle relief
- 2400 rpm – encourages blood flow
- 2700 rpm – lactic acid decomposition
- 3000 rpm – deep tissue massage
If you are new to using a massage gun however, we would recommend that you start off slow and gradually build up until you get used to the sensation and you become more confident with the device.
The massage gun itself is ergonomically designed so that it can be held comfortably in the hand and because it is smaller than other massage guns it is also lighter. Weighing in at just under a pound, the Q2 makes reaching for tougher to reach areas, such as the back and shoulders, a lot easier and also means you won’t cause yourself any more damage in the process. Another notable feature to point out is that despite the power of the Q2 it is actually really quiet when operating. At just 40-50 decibels, it can be used discretely without causing disturbance to others.
Start off with sessions of 2-4 minutes until you’re used to it and then you can lengthen the duration to what feels right for you. The gun is set to automatically switch off after 10 minutes use. Gently move the massage gun over the muscle or trigger point making sure not to press too hard – remember the gun is doing the work, not you!
If you’re looking for a lightweight, easy to use, compact, powerful, competent massage gun then look no further. Because when it comes to the Bob And Brad Q2 Mini Massage Gun, it seems good things really do come in small packages.
The Bob And Brad Q2 Mini Massage Gun is available on Amazon for £59.99, but we can get it for you cheaper than that, as the lovely people at Bob And Brad have given us a 10% discount code to share with you. Simply tap BobBrad401 into the promotion code box during check out and you’ll get yourself 10% off of the listed price.
*Product gifted for review