POSTED: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - 11:00pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - 11:04pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — It's the slowest paced, easiest to do, but most often forgotten activity in the gym: stretching.
"One of the biggest myths in health and fitness is stretching is separate from working out, and that's not true," said Erik Duncan. "Stretching is exercise."
Green team and Bally Total Fitness trainer Erik Duncan said when it comes to completing a workout stretching is key.
"We don't grow elongated muscles," said Duncan. "We grow short muscles. Stretching teaches short muscles to catch up with the rest of the long muscles."
Erik's rules for beginners are easy: try to avoid bouncing, make sure you hold your stretch for 30 to 45 seconds per move, and don't try to compete with your neighbor that's when you can get hurt.
"If you feel like you stuck your finger in a light socket, or you feel an electrical vibration within your body your tearing not stretching," said Duncan. "You've gone to far."
Erik says start your stretch routine by going from the bottom of your body and travel up.
"What your doing is traveling kinetically in your stretch," said Duncan. "You are going from your feet all the way up to the top of your head. If you do that right it should last for about ten to fifteen minutes."
Loosening up your muscles does more than increase flexibility. Stretching squeezes out toxins from the muscles, and it helps your body slow down.
"You feel calm," said Duncan. "You feel good. You feel refreshed."
Erik says slowing down during a workout can make people feel uncomfortable, but your muscles need that time to grow longer.
"If they slow down their whole world goes into a frenzy," said Duncan. "Because, when they are outside the gym when they are in a regular workout they are used to being so fast pace. When stretching they have to take time. Your body needs time."