No one told me to stretch. I didn’t know that my muscles were tired and my joints were creaky and the lactic acid stayed. In fact, until our first lab class, I didn’t even know what lactic acid was! After the fitness test, I was in pretty bad shape. My legs were all jell-o, my face was red, and my knees were actually wobbly. At one point, I wanted to fall! My body was not ready for such strenuous action. Afterwards, I went about my life as though I did not just do the most physical activity I have ever done in my life.
This was a terrible decision. The next day, I could hardly get out of bed, let alone go down the three stairs of the stoop outside of East Quad. Every single side of my leg was sore. I couldn’t move without making small yelp sounds and complaints to everyone around me. At one point, I even bad-mouthed the class! Later, I realized the only person to bad-mouth was myself. Because I never exercised or did sports, I did not know the very elementary rule of physical activity: To Stretch!
The first place I stretched was Target. A friend and I parked near the shopping cart carrel outside, which was a decent fifteen cars away from the front entrance. When I got out of my seat, instantly I felt even more pain in my thighs, calves, knee joints, and hips. After my first step, it got worse. By the time we were picking up a shopping cart, I knew I needed to do something. I stopped and turned to my friend with a pained expression and a desperate look in my eye. He asked me, “Have you stretched out yet?”
I stretched right then and there. I stretched my quads, my calves, my hips, my arms, my back, and my ankles. I used the handle bar of the cart to help me balance, and lifted my foot behind to my butt to stretch my quads. It was painful, but the pain was good. After the second time stretching each leg, the pain was less intense. I couldn’t believe it. Now I know: stretching is the best way to recover from a work out. In fact, I’m doing the Butterfly Stretch right now as I’m typing this!