It’s a common sight to see people leave an expensive boxing or crossfit class early, just because they want to avoid stretching. Its completely understandable; stretching is a boring and painful activity, even for people who are active and workout several times a week.
Even though stretching is the blandest part about working out, it’s still an important aspect of it that helps you out in the long run, making you more flexible, stronger, and preventing injuries. LifeHacker compiled a list of tips and suggestions from experts and physical therapists that’ll help you stretch without knowing you’re stretching, thus making the most of your time and your sanity. Check out five of our favorites:
Stretch while you’re doing something else
Like when you trick kids into eating veggies by hiding them in their food, the key here is to sneak in stretches as your mind is busy doing other things, such as waiting in line at the grocery store or riding a bus. While these stretches have to be simple, you can still do calf stretches, hamstring stretches, and squeezing your glutes for intervals of time in order to strengthen your core.
Do something entertaining as you stretch
You can turn on the TV, listen to a podcast or to a new album as you stretch or start to use the foam-roller, making time pass by faster. Yoga teacher Lauren McCabe suggests creating a relaxing playlist for your stretches and timing your exercises according to the songs.
Yoga is a great practice for developing your flexibility and toning your body, but it’s also a great way to stretch. Yoga is entertaining and beloved by many people, stretching out limbs and muscles without making you feel like you’re bored. You can find basic yoga workouts in all sorts apps, classes, and websites.
Do it with a group of people
There are all sorts of classes that focus on deep stretch workouts, such as Pilates and restorative yoga. These activities are great because they’re lead by an expert who guides you, pushes you to work hard, and corrects you when you’re doing something wrong.
You can also go to the gym with a friend and help each other out while stretching, making the activity a little bit more fun.
Think of the big picture
Try to think of stretching as a necessary evil, providing tons of benefits for your body that’ll improve your workouts, tone your muscles, and make you look and feel better. The more you stretch, the easier it becomes, and the further you’ll be able to go on all of your work outs.