Stretching 101: Importance of Stretching Before and After Exercise
When was the last time you stretched before a workout? How about after a workout? If you’re not taking the time to stretch your muscles before and after exercise, you could be missing out on some vital benefits.
Minimize Painful Injuries
Just because you make it to the gym doesn’t mean your body is ready to go. Stretching exercises are designed to raise your body temperature and warm up the muscles by expanding muscle fibers. Muscles that are fluid and pliable are less likely to suffer an injury during a workout. Warming up can also reduce post-workout muscle soreness.
Boost Flexibility and Range of Motion
Regular stretching sessions help increase flexibility, allowing you to perform your daily activities with ease. Having the ability to achieve a range of motions without restriction is important as you build your strength through a variety of exercises. Both static and dynamic stretching can be useful for increasing range of motion.
- Static Stretching. This type of stretching involves holding a stretch in a comfortable position for a set amount of time – typically 10 to 30 seconds. Static stretching is most beneficial after a workout.
- Dynamic Stretching. This type of stretching is made up of active movements that force the muscles to stretch. However, the stretch is not held in the end position. Dynamic stretching is most beneficial before a workout.
Increase Blood Flow
Stretching helps increase blood flow and circulation to your muscles. Muscles rely on blood flow to receive nourishment and to eliminate waste byproducts in the muscle tissue. Improved circulation has been found useful in shortening post-workout recovery time and reducing delayed onset muscle soreness.
Create the Ultimate Workout
No matter what type of exercise you do, there’s no denying the benefits of stretching. If your workout routine is lacking a brief warm-up and cool-down, it’s time to add a few stretches into the mix. Start and end your sessions at the gym with a brief 5 to 10 minute stretching routine.