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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

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