Often when someone thinks of stretching, they think of superstar athletes. A lot of office workers, or people who sit for long periods of time have tight muscles in their legs and hips, which could easily be prevented with stretching. Tight muscles make you prone to injury, and can lead to joint issues. There are many great benefits to stretching. It can also be very simple, and take little time out of your day that will help you in the long run.
If you are not very active, do not assume that stretching will not help you. As I said before, you are more prone to injuries, and joint pain (which is not fun at all!). If you think about it, you could get hurt by doing simple household tasks just because you are not flexible. Something as simple as putting socks on can be difficult! An easy thing to put into your daily routine is to stretch right before bed. You have spent all day moving around; it is a great way to finish your day. Doing a few stretches, for example, a seated hamstring stretch, a standing quad stretch, and a standing hamstring stretch will help your overall range of motion. Try not to stretch right when you wake up. Your muscles need to be warm when you stretch, not cold. If you stretch right you wake up, you are running the risk of tearing your muscle fibers, which is counterproductive. Also, always remember not to “bounce,” when stretching, this is another way of causing an injury. Here are a few examples of some simple exercises you can do right at home:
Athletes should take stretching very seriously, yet they often don’t. Warm ups, cool downs, and stretching in general are crucial to being a good athlete and preventing injury. As important as it is to stretch, it is even more important to know what kind of stretches to do, and when. The two basic forms of stretching are dynamic and static. Static Stretching is what is pictured above. Typically you are stretching one specific muscle group for about 10-30 second while staying still. On the contrary, Dynamic Stretching is when you are doing movements specifically designed to warm up certain muscle groups without tearing the muscle fibers. Dynamic Stretching should always be done before working out/exercising. Then Static Stretching should be the final thing you do in your workout. Whether you are lifting weights, or doing an activity, a dynamic warm-up prepares your body for the task at hand. For example, if you are doing a lifting regiment, and it is “leg day,” it would be good to do some lunges for your warm-up. They are a great way to warm your legs up, so when you begin your workout, you are not putting unnecessary stress on your muscles (other than what you would be doing for your workout). Taking time to Static stretch after your workout is just as important. Stretching helps reduce the risk of cramping, reduces the risk of injury, and increases blood flow which helps prevent soreness.
Many professional athletes openly talk about how much stretching helps in their sport. Kevin Love, Power Forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers, speaks highly about how yoga has changed his life. Also, Novak Djokovic, arguably one of the greatest tennis players in history, is know all over the tour for how much time he spends stretching (as pictured below).
Finding the time to stretch is so important when it comes to daily life. If you worked out for two hours, what’s 10 more minutes? If you get into the mindset of, “it’s only 10 minutes of my day,” instead of, “I’m not going to waste 10 minutes just to stretch,” you will find an overall increase in your well-being.
One of the primary reasons that someone should have a Personal Trainer is that they are trained in teaching others how to exercise. And while exercise in itself is only a part of fitness, with nutrition and lifestyle playing an essential role in the overall picture if you don’t get exercise right then you will never achieve your goals.
The importance of education when exercising is important for two primary reasons:
1) If you don’t know which exercises are most effective for the goals you have, you are unlikely to achieve those goals. For example, if your goal is to build core strength, but you spend all your time on cardio exercises, then you are unlikely to hit your goal.
2) Education when performing exercises is essential in reducing the risk of injury. Many people every year are seriously injured by performing exercises they have not received training for, and this can impact their health and fitness for a long time. Having someone trained in how to execute certain tasks will greatly reduce the level of risk and increase the effectiveness of your fitness routine.
2. They Help Perfect Form
Having a Personal Trainer beside you to demonstrate the correct posture and technique is invaluable. A Personal Trainer will ensure clients are performing exercises correctly and efficiently, in order to maximize results. If your form when exercising is not correct, then you are at increased risk of injury, as well as not achieving your goals (because nothing kills a dream like 10 weeks of prescribed bed rest!).
3. They Can Help With Your Unique Requirements
Everybody is different, and that means everyone’s abilities and requirements are different when it comes to exercise. This could be anything from having an old injury that requires special exercises, to having a phobia that may impact on where or how you workout.
For example, if you have an old knee injury that required surgery, but since then you haven’t done anything to rebuild the muscles or improve mobility, then you are going to need different exercises and goals than an athlete who is training to run a marathon. This is where a Personal Trainer’s experience can make a huge difference to your training program.
4. They Help You Set Realistic Goals
Everyone wants to achieve their goals straight away, whether they be weight loss, cheese grater abs, or Hulk-like strength. These goals are not always achievable, and if you don’t hit them, then you may be discouraged and backslide.
A Personal Trainer will not only help you set realistic goals that you will be able to achieve, – if you put in the effort, of course – but they will also be able to keep you on track to hit those goals. For example, if your goal is to achieve a ‘bikini body’ for summer, it’s not just about doing 100 crunches a day for a month to work your abs. It’s about altering your diet to eat the correct foods, mixing cardio and weights to work the right muscles, and setting a time frame in which this can be achieved.
5. They Can Help With Specific Goals, Such As Training For An Event
As well as helping their clients set realistic goals, Personal Trainers are the perfect tool to help you achieve a specific goal. This is ideal for those who are training for a specific event, or need to achieve a certain level of fitness before they are able to do something they really want.
For example, if you have a bucket list with ‘Skydiving’ on it, but are over the maximum weight, then hiring a Personal Trainer to assist with helping you lose weight is a great start to achieving this goal. Or if your goal is to be able to run a marathon in six months, then hiring a Personal Trainer to put you on the right track could be all you need to complete a marathon.
6. They Hold You Accountable
How many times have you gone to bed and said to yourself, “Tomorrow I’m going to wake up, go to the gym, and do an hour workout before I get ready for work”, and then woken up and decided to sleep for another hour instead of exercising?
This is where a Personal Trainer is critical to ensuring that you commit and stick to your fitness goals. If you’ve made an appointment to meet you trainer for a session, then you are far more likely to still go than if you are just telling yourself you should go to the gym.
7. No Wasted Time = Maximum Results
There are two types of people who go to the gym:
1) Those who wander in, spend 10 minutes on one machine and then drift slowly over to another, before halfheartedly trying bicep curls for five reps, and then walking out.
2) Those who have a plan in mind, and hit the machines with a purpose. They generally have a set amount of reps they do in sets of two or three, and they’ll know exactly what they’re doing on each machine.
It’s fairly obvious that the first group will not be achieving their fitness goals unless they get some help and have someone to direct them, so if you know that you’re one of those people then you should be enlisting the help of a Personal Trainer ASAP.
8. It’s Not Just Fitness They Can Help With
When completing their Certificate III in Fitness, every student is required to complete a module on nutrition and how it can affect fitness. Personal Trainers who complete their Certificate IV in Fitness have to then complete additional work on nutrition, and a number of Personal Trainers also add on additional education to their program by completing a Nutrition course such as those offered by the Australian Institute of Fitness.
By choosing a Personal Trainer who has undergone specific nutrition education, you know that they will be providing the right nutritional advice to achieve your goals.
9. They Improve Your Mental Health
It has long been known that physical exercise can help with mental health issues such as depression, and that it is a recommended part of treatment by many medical health professionals. Having a Personal Trainer to help with your exercise plan when you suffer from mental health problems can help with motivation, with choosing the right exercises to release the most endorphins, and also just to have another shoulder to lean on.
Which leads us to our next point…
10. They’re An Unofficial Therapist
Let’s be honest, most of the time when exercising with your Personal Trainer you will be telling them about your week, how work is going, and what’s wrong with your life at the time. This is normal!
A Personal Trainer is there to help with your fitness goals, yes, but they’re also there to help improve your overall well being. They care about how stressed you are, because that will impact how motivated you are in your sessions. They care if you’re unhappy in a relationship, as this could result in eating unhealthily.
There are myriad ways in which having a Personal Trainer can be like having an unofficial therapist.
11. They Help You Form Good Habits
It can take weeks to form good habits, and even longer to break bad ones – and trying to do it on your own is hard work. Having a Personal Trainer is like having a good angel on your shoulder encouraging you in the right direction. They can help to argue with the bad angel in your head, and keep you on track to achieve your fitness goals.
12. Personalized Training Plan
There are always going to be some exercises that you enjoy more than others, beyond simple capability. For example, just because you can physically do burpees doesn’t mean that you always want to, but you might really like doing squat jumps and sit ups instead.
A Personal Trainer will be able to tailor your training plan to suit you and what you enjoy, as well as encourage you to do the exercises that are best to achieve your goals.
As well as this, there are always going to be some days when the last thing you feel like doing is a hard workout, and so having a Personal Trainer means that they can tailor your exercise for that day to both accommodate your mood while still making the session helpful.
13. They Fit Into Your Schedule
Regardless of whether the only time you have available to train is at a ridiculously early hour before work, or on your lunch break, or mid-afternoon before the kids come home from school – a Personal Trainer is one of the most versatile professions in terms of hours. They understand that different people have different availabilities, and so they will tailor appointment times to suit you.
14. Increased Flexibility For Location
Not everyone enjoys the atmosphere of a crowded gym, or having to wait for the machine you want to use to become available. The benefit of having a Personal Trainer is that you aren’t limited to working out where equipment is available – not only will your PT have some equipment that they can bring with them, but you can also choose the location in which you exercise.
Whether it’s in the comfort of your own home or in your neighborhood park, with a Personal Trainer you have the flexibility to workout wherever suits you best.
15. They Challenge You
Are you getting bored with your fitness routine? Have you progressed beyond the exercises you know, and have plateaued in your fitness? A Personal Trainer is what you need to take you to the next level, and continuously challenge your abilities.
Don’t think you can lift that medicine ball?
Positive you won’t fit back into your favorite dress?
Doubt you’ll be able to compete in a charity run next year?
A Personal Trainer is your life coach, nutrition guide and encourager all in one, and without them your fitness goals are that much harder to achieve. So what are you waiting for? Find a professional Personal Trainer today here at Wembley to help achieve your fitness goals!