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Family Sports & Fitness

Make Stretching a Ritual

Light stretching before and after exercise can improve your performance, improve your overall flexibility, improve circulation and reduce your risk of injury. Considering it can take as little as 10 minutes, it’s certainly worth adding 5 minutes of stretching on each end of your routine.

Take a few minutes throughout your day to refocus on yourself and reduce burnout, fatigue and tension. These yoga stretches don’t require a mat or workout gear and take just a few minutes to complete. The poses will initiate a stillness that allows you to let go of stress. Repeat them frequently and you’ll notice your stretches get deeper and easier to do. Best of all, they’re not huge moves, so no one around you may even know you’re doing them!

Use the Right Technique:
• Always perform balanced stretching, evenly working the muscles on both sides
  of your body.
• Don’t over-stretch to the point of discomfort or pain. Slight tension or muscle pull
  is all you should feel at the fullest extension of a stretch.
• Stretch slowly and gently and hold each stretch for 15 – 30 seconds. Then release
  the stretch slowly too.
• Bouncing and bobbing during your stretch will cause injury. Remember to move
  smoothly and slowly.
• Breathe as you stretch and relax into the stretch. Breathe regularly or use deep
   breathing techniques – just don’t hold your breath.

Benefits of Warm-up and a Cool-down Stretches:
• Warm-up stretches help raise your body temperature, increasing blood flow and
  providing a stronger oxygen supply to the muscles. Pre-exercise stretching
  prepares your entire body and mind for the work it’s about to do.
• Cool-down with stretching and you’ll be helping your muscles and tendons ease
   back into normal function, relaxing and loosening them and preventing them from
   stiffening. Post-workout stretches also prevent lactic acid build-up and blood
   pooling in your limbs. In addition, it gives you time to relax your mind and prepare
   for your next activity.

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