If you think stretching is unnecessary or even counter productive then this article is for you. The benefits of stretching are numerous and far-reaching. Regular stretching not only prevents injuries, but also keeps your muscles strong and lean. Let us look at a few of the benefits that stretching offers.
Stretching increases your strength.
When you stretch, the blood flow to your muscles improves. As a result, nutrients are delivered more effectively to the various parts of your body. This means shorter recovery times and less muscle fatigue. As a result, you can workout harder and more often. Your strength gains will improve greatly if you incorporate stretching into your workouts.
Stretching increases your flexibility.This is one of the most commonly known benefits of stretching. When you workout, you are putting your muscles through a short and tight range of motion. When you do this, you are setting yourself up for injury and muscle soreness. If your muscles are flexible, they are better able to adapt to different ranges of motion and varying degrees of stretch. Keep in mind though, that excess of anything, even stretching, is harmful. Overly flexible muscles are sloppy and set you up for injury in their own right. A lot of people who have yoga-related injuries are proof of this phenomenon.
Stretching improves your circulation.When you stretch, you are basically lengthening your muscles. When you do this, you automatically improve the looseness of the muscle you stretch. As a result, blood flows properly through the muscle tissue and promotes cell regeneration and regrowth. Since a properly stretched body works like a well-oiled machine, the heart has to work less hard to pump blood to the different parts of your body. This will greatly improve your blood pressure.
Stretching reduces the stress in your body.Whenever you go through a traumatic incident or a stressful situation, your body stores up some of that stress inside itself. This causes muscles to tighten and impairs the functions of certain organs and systems over time. When you stretch, you allow your body to release this pent-up tension. As a result, you will feel better and calmer since the body will release endorphins into the system. In certain schools of thought, stretching is said to promote wellbeing through mindfulness – actively paying attention to specific areas of your body. The muscles that tighten up the most due to stress are the ones around the shoulders and the neck. If you stretch these out properly before you go to bed, you should be able to see improvements in your quality of sleep. You will feel more energized and have to sleep less than usual.
Stretching improves your range of motion.
Improving the range of motion of your joints and muscles is one of the best ways to prevent yourself from injuries. Your body works together like a complex machine, and whenever a certain muscle isn’t functioning properly, another muscle will automatically take up the load in order to keep your body mobile. Over the course of time, muscle imbalances such as these can cause injuries and joint pain. If your joints have a greater range of motion, you will be able to perform most of your daily activities more fully and without risk of getting hurt.
You might have seen that people who sit at a desk all day have bad posture and tight hips and shoulders. If these same people are weight training and not stretching afterwards, they are compounding their problem.
In summation, make sure you have a proper stretching routine that you perform daily. You can find a lot of good ones online, or you can join a class if you have the time. Once you have learned the basics, you can practice on your own at home. Even 10-15 minutes a day goes a long way to ensuring that you stay healthier and injury-free.