Before donning a FruitGuys banana suit, some basic fruit conditioning is required. Besides getting your recommended intake of fruit per day, you should also be stretching your body to prepare for any challenging trials you might face. Regular stretching can help broaden your motion, reduce chances of injury, and allow for more consistent athletic ability. Sure, stretching can be detrimental in the wrong context — such as before a high-energy activity like track-and-field or sprinting — but generally, a good stretch routine will make you more flexible and get your muscles working.
As the Bananas demonstrate, there are some stretching rules to remember before getting started. First, if you’re about to do some heavy cardio, don’t stretch from a standstill. Instead, warm up with low-intensity jogging or biking for a few minutes. You can even wait to stretch until after you finish exercising. When you’re in stretch mode, hone in on each of your muscle areas, like your lower back, neck, thighs, and hips, and make sure to focus on both sides. Depending on the sport you’re about to do, you should also tailor your stretching to work on muscles that you’ll be using more often. For example, if you’re about to head out on a long bike ride, focus on your calves and thighs. Remember: if you’re inconsistent with your stretching routine, you’ll probably lose out on health benefits, so pick at least few days a week and stick to them.
One way to get used to stretching and build flexibility is to start with relaxed movements that loosen your body. Like yoga, these movements should be done slowly first and then build in intensity. Those with preexisting injuries like a pulled muscle should be extra careful. If you feel serious pain when stretching, you should probably consult a physician before continuing any strenuous physical activities. Stretching doesn’t make you immune to strain, either, so pay attention to your body when you’ve been working out for a prolonged period. Like the Bananas’ fruit conditioning, you’ll find that a regular stretching ritual can improve blood flow, mental clarity, and make you feel more comfortable in your own skin.