How to Stretch Properly Before You Run

Hey guys Jeff here!

Just thought I would do a quick bit on how to make sure you are stretching properly before and after you exercise.

The biggest thing is to get the length of your stretches right!  That changes for pre-exercise and post-exercise stretching.  Before, you should hold your stretches for only about 1 second per stretch.  Just limber up and let your muscles and joints loosen up.

After you run, you should hold your stretches for around 3 to 5 seconds each.  The better job you do of stretching afterwards the less sore you will be.

In any case, make sure you stretch ALL your muscles.  Even muscles not directly involved in the exercise can end up injured if you ignore them.   However, the muscles that are worked most rigorously or most directly involved should always be stretched most thoroughly.  The next most important thing is to stretch the surrounding muscles.  Not only are they more vulnerable to injury, stretching them will give you greater range of motion.  For example, if you are running you should stretch your legs, ankles, and feet very thoroughly.  Then, next focus on your hips and torso.

There are a few things you can also avoid doing as part of good stretching.  While it is generally recommended to hold post-workout stretches for 3 to 5 seconds, never hold a stretch longer than 15 seconds in any case.

Don’t ever stretch right after you wake up, this especially applies if you have a back injury or any history of back problems.  Spinal fluid builds up overnight, and makes stretches more likely to injure than prevent injury.  Good practice says waiting an hour should be more than sufficient.

Anyways that’s the basics and most important things.  It should let you know everything you need to know!  Any questions let me know in the comments.

Jeff Wilson

4 Effortless Ways You Can Sleep Better

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Always sleep in 1.5 hour increments.  As odd as it is, it works like a charm.  Your mind sleeps in 90 minute REM cycles, and REALLY doesn’t like being woken up in between.  You will feel much better sleeping 6.5 hours than you would 7.  And if you have ever slept only 3 hours and woken up feeling refreshed, that’s why.  Complete cycles will allow you to feel wide awake in the morning.  Of course, the challenge is to sleep in 1.5 hour increments, not just go to bed in them.  This means you have to account for the time it takes you to fall asleep as well (14 minutes for the average person).

Don’t use alcohol to fall asleep.  It can be tempting, and there has risen an idea that alcohol will help you sleep.  While this is partially true, it’s not helpful.  Alcohol will help you fall asleep but not stay asleep (and it definitely does not provide a high quality sleep).  Rather, alcohol is likely to leave you waking up in the middle of the night once it wears off.

Go to bed at the same time every night.  This can be hard to stick to, but it’s more than worth it.  It’s easy enough on the weekdays, the challenge comes on the weekends.  The temptation to stay up late kicks in and screws up your sleep schedule.  But if you can align your sleeping all through-out the week, your sleep quality will improve ten-fold.

Don’t look at your phone right before bed.  We are all guilty of this one.  Looking at your phone right before bed will kill your sleep quality.  Rather, try going old school with a night lamp and a book.  Reading before bed will actually help naturally put you to sleep and produce a higher-quality rest that will leave you feeling fresh and ready to go in the morning.