Many people stretch when they exercise or play sports.
Others don’t stretch but feel they should. And some people don’t see any reason to stretch at all. Many are dissuaded from adding stretching to a daily workout routine, as it does not provide a flatter abdomen or a stronger heart. Nevertheless, few know that stretching can actually help you achieve your fitness goals more efficiently.
Dynamic exercise and strength training require stable muscles that work smoothly. Exercising is known to cause muscle shortening. Routine stretching counteracts this process, promoting flexibility in your muscles and joints, helping them move through their full range of motion without issue. Warmed-up muscles are more likely to control the stresses placed upon them that are caused by exercises.
Mild stretching is recommended, especially prior to robust exertion of the muscles. Stretching without proper technique tends to be less effective and possibly damaging if an injury ensues. It is important to be careful while stretching, as the knees and lower back are susceptible to injury.
There are several ways to get the most out of your stretching pre- and post-workout. I have outlined some recommendations for incorporating stretching into your exercise routine.
- Walking or light jogging for 5-10 minutes will warm-up your muscles prior to stretching and working out. It is not recommended to stretch muscles when they are cold.
- Stretching should be undertaken at least 2-3 times per week.
- All muscles groups that will be used in your exercise routine should be stretched.
- Each muscle group should be stretched individually and slowly. Do not bounce during the stretch or make abrupt movements. You should focus on breathing and exhaling as you move further into the stretch. Any stretch position should be held no longer than 20-30 seconds, in 3 to 5 repetition cycles.
Stretching should not be painful, so stop if you feel pain. If you stretch the wrong way, there is a possibility that you can cause small tears in your muscles, which can increase in size during the workout.
Incorporation of frequent and routine stretching into your pre- and post-workout can be very beneficial to your overall flexibility. This will also help you accomplish your fitness goals. With your fitness goals being accomplished faster and without injury, you will be on a faster track to being a healthier person.