Be sure to reach your personal fitness finish line by incorporating the one simple tip we tend to overlook.JANUARY 2014 BY TRACY ESSERS
You’ve committed to making this the year you get fit – good for you! But whether you’re aiming to run the Comrades Marathon, or simply doing your best to squeeze a 20 -minute walk into your busy schedule, there’s one aspect of exercise no one should forget: stretching. “Stretching is an important component before and after your work out as it allows for efficient blood flow to muscles and avoids the risk of injury,” says Habib Noorbhai, registered Biokineticist and academic researcher at the University of Cape Town. An injury could throw your fitness schedule off for weeks or even months, so be sure to include a “warm-up” and “cool-down” with each and every workout session. Before beginning your routine, aim to do a five-minute walk or cycle at a leisurely pace followed by a set of stretches as indicated below. Then, to cool down, complete the set of stretches below followed by a leisurely walk or cycle. Aim to hold each pose for 30 seconds per side. “It’s important not to stretch to the point that you feel pain, but rather to feel that your muscles are warm and loosened,” advises Noorbhai.