It’s common knowledge that stretching is important. And even though it’s something we know we should be doing, many of us don’t make it a priority. But what if you knew the reasons why it can take your physical fitness to the next level? What if you understood how it can bring you closer to reaching your goals?
“Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion on in the joints,” Harvard Health reports. “Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight. Then, when you call on the muscles for activity they are weak and unable to extend all the way. That puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.” In short, stretching is vital to your overall health.
Here are five of the top benefits:
1. Extends your range of motion
If the muscles around your joints are tense, this directly affects how far you can move your joints in different directions. Stretching on a daily basis can release tension and as a result, increase your range of motion. As we age, joint movement gradually declines, so performing different types of stretches is especially important!
2. Improves your posture
When you work out, do you notice your shoulders are hunched or your pelvis is tilted? These are signs you may have a muscle imbalance. When muscle imbalances are not corrected, they can negatively impact your posture.
According to one study, strengthening and stretching certain muscles can help keep your body aligned and improve musculoskeletal pain.
3. Increases your flexibility
While most people are familiar with this stretching benefit, they don’t realize why flexibility is important.
Stretching regularly is scientifically proven to increase your flexibility, which will make daily tasks much easier – whether it’s walking upstairs, bending down to pick up a package or reaching for the glass on the top shelf. Being flexible results in less pain and fewer injuries.
4. Boosts athle@c performance
There’s a reason why stretching is an instrumental part of exercise warm ups and cool downs. It helps get your muscles ready and research confirms its performance enhancing benefits.
Is there a specific type of stretching you should be doing pre and post workout? Yes.
According to a review published in Current Sports Medicine, “dynamic stretching generally can be recommended in the period immediately prior to activity for most athletes, and static stretching and PNF stretching probably are reserved best for the period after activity.”
Also, “if static stretching or PNF are used prior to activity, they probably should be followed by an intervening sufficient period (e.g., 5 min), dynamic stretching session, or general warm-up prior to the activity to dissipate any potential negative impacts effects on performance,” researchers add.
5. Relieves stress
Did you know that when you’re stressed your body naturally tenses up? That’s why one of the fastest ways to improve your mental state is to improve your physical state. Yoga is typically recommended for mind/body wellness since stretches are a major part of the practice.
For optimal results, zone in on the areas where you hold the most tension – likely the shoulders, neck and upper back.
Looking for stretching advice for your body type and fitness goals? Check out some helpful tips from Salina D Fitness !