Benefits of Stretching

by | Oct 14, 2020 | Fitness Guides

We all know exercise is important, but what about stretching? Does stretching take a back seat to your exercise routine?

 

There are many Benefits of Stretching. Stretching can help you improve your joint range of motion, improve your posture, improve your athletic performance, increase flexibility and decrease your risk of injury. Understand how stretching can help you.

Increases your flexibility

Regular stretching can help increase flexibility, which is crucial for your health. Improved flexibility can help you perform everyday activities with relative ease. This can also help delay the reduction of mobility which comes with aging.

 

Benefits of Stretching | 6 STRETCHES YOU SHOULD DO EVERYDAY TO IMPROVE FLEXIBILITY AND FUNCTION

 

Increases your range of motion

Being able to move a joint through its full range of motion gives you more freedom of movement. Stretching on a regular basis can help increase your range of motion.

Improves your performance in physical activities

Performing dynamic stretches before physical activities can help prepare your muscles for activity. It may also help improve your performance in an athletic event or exercise.

Increases blood flow to your muscles

Performing stretches on a regular basis may improve your circulation. Improved circulation increases blood flow to your muscles. This can shorten your recovery time and reduce muscle soreness.

Improves your posture

Muscle imbalances are common and can lead to poor posture. A combination of strengthening and stretching specific muscle groups, can reduce musculoskeletal pain and encourage proper alignment. That, in turn, may help improve your posture.

Helps to heal and prevent back pain

Tight muscles can lead to a decrease in your range of motion. When this happens, you increase the likelihood of straining the muscles in your back. Stretching can help heal an existing back injury by stretching the muscles.
A regular stretching routine can also help prevent future back pain. It can strengthen your back muscles and reduce risk of muscle strain.

Great for stress relief

When you’re experiencing stress, there’s a good chance your muscles are tense. That’s because your muscles tend to tighten up in response to physical and emotional stress. Focus on areas of your body where you tend to hold your stress, such as your neck, shoulders, and upper back.

Can calm your mind

Participating in a regular stretching can also calm your mind. During your stretching routine, focus on mindfulness and meditation practices. Relax any chatter, be in the moment and allow your mind to rest.

Benefits of Stretching

Benefits of Stretching

Helps decrease tension headaches

Tension and stress headaches can interfere with your daily life. Besides from eating a proper diet, drinking plenty of water and proper rest, stretching can help reduce tension from headaches.

Increase Energy

Stretching allows for an increased blood and nutrient flow throughout the body. This can make you feel refreshed, increase your energy levels and result in an improved sense of invigoration.

May reduce your risk of injury

A flexible muscle is less likely to become injured if you have to make a sudden move. Increasing the range of motion in a particular joint by stretching, can decrease the resistance on your muscles, during various activities.

Helps relieve post-exercise aches and pains

After a hard workout, stretching your muscles helps keep them loose and lessens the shortening and tightening effect that can lead to post-workout aches and pains.

Reduces muscular tension and enhances muscular relaxation

Tense muscles tend to cut off their own circulation, resulting in a lack of oxygen and essential nutrients. Stretching allows your muscles to relax.

Improves mechanical efficiency and functional performance

Flexible joints need less energy to move through a wider range of motion. A flexible body improves performance by creating more energy-efficient movements.

Promotes circulation

Stretching increases blood supply to your muscles and joints. This will allow for nutrients to  transport more easily and improve the circulation of blood through your body.

STRETCHING TECHNIQUES

Static stretches

Static stretches is to hold a stretch in a comfortable position for between 10 and 30 seconds. This form of stretching is most beneficial after you exercise.

Dynamic stretches

Dynamic stretches are active movements that cause your muscles to stretch. Yet, the stretch is not held in the end position. These stretches are usually done before exercise. This will enable your muscles to get ready for movement.

Tips

  • Use dynamic stretches before exercise to prepare your muscles.
  • Use static stretches after exercise to reduce your risk for injury.

STRETCHING ESSENTIALS

Don’t consider stretching a warm up

You may hurt yourself if you stretch cold muscles. Before stretching, warm up with light walking or jogging for five to 10 minutes. Even better, stretch after your workout when your muscles are warm.

Strive for symmetry

Everyone’s genetics for flexibility are a bit different. Focus on having equal flexibility side to side (especially if you have a history of a previous injury). Flexibility that is not equal on both sides may be a risk factor for injury.

Focus on major muscle groups

Concentrate stretching on major muscle groups. Such as your calves, thighs, hips, lower back, neck and shoulders. Make sure that you stretch both sides.

Don’t bounce

Stretch in a smooth movement. Do not bounce. Bouncing as you stretch can injure your muscle and actually contribute to muscle tightness.

Hold your stretch

Breathe and hold each stretch for about 30 seconds; in problem areas, you may need to hold for around 60 seconds.

Don’t aim for pain

Expect to feel tension while you’re stretching, not pain. If it hurts, you’ve pushed too far. Back off to the point where you don’t feel any pain, then hold the stretch.

Make stretches sport specific

Some evidence suggests that it’s helpful to do stretches which involve the muscles you use most in your activity or sport. If you play football for instance, stretch your hamstrings, as you’re more susceptible to hamstring strains.

FULL BODY STRETCH WITH STRENGTH

 

Keep up with your stretching

Stretching can be time consuming. But you can achieve the most benefits by stretching at least two to three times a week.Skipping regular stretching means you risk losing the potential benefits. For instance, if stretching helped you increase your range of motion, your range of motion may decrease again if you stop stretching.

Bring movement into your stretching

Gentle movements, such as those in tai chi or yoga, can help you be more flexible in specific movements. These types of exercises can also help reduce falls in older adults.
When performing a specific activity, such as a kick in martial arts or kicking a football. Start slowly and at a low intensity, to allow your muscles to get used to it. Then gradually speed up.

15 AWESOME BENEFITS OF STRETCHING

 

KNOW WHEN TO EXERCISE CAUTION

If you suffer with a health condition or an injury, you might need to adjust your stretching techniques. For example, if you already have a strained muscle, stretching it may cause further harm. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about the most appropriate way to stretch if you have any health concerns.
Also remember that stretching doesn’t mean you can’t get injured. Stretching, for instance, won’t prevent an overuse injury.

THE TAKEAWAY

Whether you’re new to exercise or a seasoned athlete, you can benefit from a regular stretching routine. By incorporating 5 to 10 minutes of dynamic and static stretches into your daily workout, you can increase your range of motion, improve your posture, and ease your mind.

 

Read more: 10 Best Rowing Machines for Home Gym

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