Essentia Fitness: Stretching After Breaking a Sweat to Maximize Your Workout

In part two of our stretching series, we talk with Essentia Health Athletic Trainers to find out why what you do after you break a sweat can make a big impact on your workout.

DIANE THAO: I’m here with Essentia Health Athletic Trainer Allison Kucera who’s here with me to tell me more about stretching after working out.
So tell me Allison why it’s so important to make sure to stretch?
ALLISON KUCERA: Why it’s so important to stretch and cool down after a workout is that we need to return our heart rate down to a normal resting pace and it also helps decrease our potential for cramping and stiffness later on in the day or the next day so that we can feel ready to exercise the next day as well.

DT: So do you mind demonstrating how we should use this?

AK: Sure, we’re going to lay it on the ground and you can really use it anywhere. You definitely want a more firmer ground, here we’re fine. We’re actually going to balance a little bit and roll back on to our ham string. That muscle group that’s in the back of our legs and roll back and forth. We can also even further, depending on your comfort level kind of roll your body back and work on our calves. So I typically like to cross my legs and do one of my calves at a time. So after our workouts we like to do the static stretching. Which is a stretching people most often think of when they think of stretching. But a band can also help also assist you while you’re doing the static stretching especially if you don’t have a partner to stretch with. First thing I’ll have you do is lay on your back. You’re gong to loop the band around your foot just like so. You can lay on your back now. You’re going to pull your leg up over your body. You want to pull just until you feel a stretch.

DT: So static is good for after the cool down then?

AK: Yes. It’s typically something you want to end with or right before you go to bed at night. Go through some more static stretching so hopefully in the morning your fresh and ready to go for your next work out.

DT: Thank you Allison for teaching us and demonstrating and properly how to do some stretches after exercising.