4 Benefits of Stretching
Stretching shouldn't just be a workout afterthought. If you're focused on being fit and building strength, regular stretching should be part of your normal routine, just like making nutritious smoothies in your kitchen blender. Here are a few of the benefits that stretching can provide.
1. It can improve circulation
Stretching exercises have been shown to improve blood flow. Stretching during, before or after a workout can help your muscles get more blood flow than usual. This can allow your muscles get the nutrients they need and may even help reduce soreness.
2. Stretching improves range of motion and flexibility
When you stretch, you're working your muscles, your tendons and nearly every part of your musculoskeletal system. Stretching allows you to expand your range of motion and move better than you could otherwise. The Mayo Clinic explained that stretching may be able to help improve performance for some athletic activities.
3. It can become an important part of your routine
As a rule, most people do dynamic stretching, where they stretch their muscles through movement, prior to a cardiovascular workout or athletic activity and static stretches during or after exercising. Static stretches are stationary and often involve pushing or pulling your muscles.
"Try dynamic stretches before you workout and static stretches after."
Whether you go running each day or hit up the gym after work, adding a steady stretching routine can become a great part of your schedule. Stretching gives you time to warm up physically before a workout and relax your mind and body following exercise.
If you're unsure which style of stretching is right for you and your routine, talk to a trainer or movement specialist.
4. Stretching may help prevent injuries
As the Mayo Clinic explained, stretching not only helps loosen up muscle tightness, but also improves tendon and joint flexibility. By helping your joints become more flexible, your joints' range of motion is improved. When your joints are able to move in a fuller range, there may be a lesser chance that they'll overextend and become injured. Similarly, a greater range of motion for joints leads to more complete muscle movements and fuller muscular workouts.
Some people are critical of the idea that stretching prevents injury because many injuries occur within a normal range of motion that doesn't require stretching. However, experts agree that warming up, which typically includes dynamic stretches, is important for preventing injuries.