One of the most commonly neglected areas of a workout is dedicating time to stretching, be it before, during or after a workout. I've lost count of the amount of times I've heard people say that they really should stretch more.
As a busy, working mum I know only too well the feeling of rushing to the gym on a tight timescale, smashing out a heavy weights session and having to leave to before my body has even had a chance to realise what's hit it, let alone a chance to cool down and stretch.
Stretching can help improve your flexibility, which will in turn give you a greater range of movement around your joints. Plus it increases blood flow and nutrients to muscles, which helps to reduce muscle soreness and tightness caused by exercise or stress. Anything to reduce DOMS has got to be worth a try, right?!
* Try incorporating stretching into your workout between sets, especially with areas that you know are particularly tight, such as hamstrings. For example, perform a set of stiff leg deadlifts and then stretch your hamstrings during the rest period. Do this between every set.
* Set aside 20mins once or twice a week to focus solely on stretching. This can be done in the gym before or after a workout, at home as soon as you wake up or whilst watching your favourite TV programme.
a Yoga or Pilates class once a week is a great way to keep the balance between
lifting heavy and ensuring those muscles don't get too tight.