The Importance of Stretching: 5 Essential Benefits
Incorporating stretches into your regular exercise regime and workout routine has many fitness and health benefits.
Do you stretch when you exercise? When it comes to your fitness routine, it can be easy to overlook the importance of something as simple as stretching. However, even the most basic of stretches make up a crucial aspect of any workout regime that shouldn’t be ignored.
Stretching is the deliberate lengthening of muscles that serves to increase flexibility and joint range of motion. Regardless of your age, flexibility or fitness goals, stretching should be a part of your regular routine. Whether it’s before, during or after your workout, incorporating stretches into your exercise regime can end up providing huge results. Here are a few of the many different fitness and health benefits that come from stretching.
Increased Flexibility and Range of Motion
From everyday tasks around the house to explosive athletic training, flexible muscles with a wide range of motion means greater physical performance and overall mobility. Flexibility tends to diminish as you get older, so it’s important to regain and maintain your range of motion. The only way to do this is by stretching consistently over time.
Decreased Risk of Injury
Whether you’re a basketball player, marathon runner or wrestler, the chance of injury is an inherent part of being an athlete and living an active lifestyle. As mentioned above, stretching increases your overall range of motion, meaning your body will be able to handle movement it otherwise would not be able to. In turn, stretching decreases the likelihood of common injuries, such as back injuries and muscle strains.
When you elongate your muscles, you reduce the overall ripping and tearing of muscle fibers and tissues. Incorporating stretches before partaking in physical activity helps to warm the body up, decreasing the risk of injury that can happen as a result of pushing the body too soon. This is because the muscle areas that are still tense are the most susceptible to injury.
Another added benefit of stretching is the increased blood flow to your muscles. Stretching encourages the flow of fresh oxygen through your bloodstream to the rest of the body, bringing nourishment and getting rid of byproducts in the process. Not only does this work to relieve pain and reduce injury, but it also aids in your movement performance. Moreover, more efficient blood flow means that it will take your body less energy to perform certain tasks and that you expend less energy in the process. As any seasoned runner will tell you, stretching is an essential part of any stamina regime.
Frequent stretching keeps your muscles from getting tight and, in turn, allows you to maintain proper posture. When you stretch, not only are you keeping your joints loose, but you’re also lengthening the tight muscles that pull your body parts away from their intended positions, especially in your back torso. Regular stretches will increase your overall quality of life as it keeps your body in the best possible alignment, minimizes discomfort, and keeps aches and pain to a minimum.
Improved Energy and Mood
Between long commutes and day spent working, your muscles tighten up and tense as you go through the trials of day-to-day life. Even the most basic of daily stretches relaxes the tightness that often accompanies stress. Simply incorporating regular stretches into your fitness routine is also a great way to wake up your body and mind before a morning workout, providing you with the physical boost you need.