Stretching: It’s Important!

Stretching is commonly associated with working out or playing a sport, but it can also be beneficial to people who are sedentary. Proper stretching helps avoid injury by increasing your flexibility and increasing blood flow, which can improve performance in physical activity. There are many positives about stretching before or after an activity, but stretching can lead to some negatives, too. Stretching an injured muscle or tendon can cause further damage. Always remember stretching needs to be done properly to be effective.

Benefits for Athletes: Studies on stretching have provided mixed results, but stretching is still considered good for athletes to include in their regimen, especially before activity. Stretching the muscles keeps them active and more flexible. Flexibility gives better range of motion throughout the joints, which can possibly reduce the risk of injury and may improve performance. Light stretching after activity was also found to be helpful to slowly cool down the muscles and tendons. A proper stretching program can help bring alignment to the joints of your shoulders, hips, knees and ankles.

Additional Benefits: Proper stretching helps strengthen and lengthen the muscles, which leads to better posture. Stretching the muscles and tendons also improves circulation of water and nutrients throughout the body, which slows the aging process. It can also reduce stress and promote relaxation. Stretching the muscles can also help avoid muscle spasms, and stretching the neck muscles can reduce headaches.

Keys to Proper Stretching:

  • Warm up for 10 minutes before stretching by jogging, biking, or doing another form of cardio.
  • Focus on your neck, shoulders, calves, thighs, lower back, and hips because these muscles need it the most.
  • Do not neglect other muscles such as the chest, triceps, and forearms.
  • Stretch both sides of your body equally.
  • Stretch regularly. (Minimum of twice a week)

One Response to Stretching: It’s Important!

  1. Great point about stretching. Too often people (myself included) overlook this. Stretching is very important not only to get your muscles warmed up but also to realize optimum muscle gain. Thanks for sharing!

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