The big secret behind stretching and everybody knows they should slow down and take at least ten minutes before and after a workout to stretch. However, this doesn’t always happen, as people are in such a rush to get in and out of the gym and continue with their lives. For most people stretching doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal. In reality, stretching will help you much more than you think.
Stretching is a vital piece of a workout routine. Stretching may not seem like it does much other than feel good and loosen you up for a few seconds, but it is more than that. Stretching before a workout allows your body to warm and get ready for what is about to come. Stretching after a workout gives the muscles a chance to relax. When you workout you are straining your muscles, you are pushing them further than they normally go. Eventually, after pushing your muscles further and further, lifting more, running longer, they will become strained. This could very easily lead to injury. “Eventually”, is the key word here. You could go to the gym for months, be progressing with your workout, starting to see results, but yet you don’t see the damage being done until one day down the road you roll out of bed and you lower back is killing you or you jump on the track one day, get a quarter mile in and something snaps in your calf. These unexpected and unwanted injuries will only set you back and stop the progress you were loving seeing.
We all know as you get older you can’t fold up like a pretzel as you could in the fourth grade. Stretching will, however, help you to get a little more bendy. It improves your level of flexibility and will increase the range of motion allowed by your muscles. This will ultimately lead to a more efficient workout because you will be able to use all parts of a muscle. Putting this in you routine will increases blood and nutrients being directed to the muscles, which has several benefits. If this happens before a workout, then your muscles will be able to withstand a harder and longer workout. If this happens, after a workout it will aid in decreasing muscle soreness.
Don’t be fooled, stretching isn’t just a great activity for your muscles, it strengthens your mind as well. It gives your brain a few minutes to calm down and help you focus. Once again, helpful before and after a workout. This small mental break before a workout will provide you with a few moments to focus on what you are about to do, get yourself motivated, and review your goals. After workout, it provides relaxation and cool down to help you continue on with the rest of your day.
Try stretching for at least a few minutes before and after a workout. Also, once a week try to set aside thirty minutes to do a full body stretch or maybe even a yoga class. Even the simplest stretches will help loosen up those muscles and get rid of any tightness. Doing this will also benefit your posture and eliminate several chiropractor appointments later on down the line. Stretch smart. There should be resistance when stretching, but there should not be pain. Hold each stretch for twenty to thirty seconds.
Now that you know how important stretching is to not only your workout regimen, but to overall health I hope you stand up and do a few after reading this article. Stretching should be included before and after a workout to help loosen, protect, and recover the body. It should help clear your mind and leave you feeling prepared for what’s next. If you want to spend countless dollars on trips to the chiropractor be my guest, but I’d rather take a few minutes each day and do a few simple stretches.