Do you think stretching is something only runners and gymnasts do? The truth is, regardless of which physical activity you opt for, stretching before and after it is essential. Not only does it help build muscle and increase fitness level, but stretching also helps with flexibility.
To protect our mobility, independence, and health, you must stretch daily. It is the key to an active life, but when done incorrectly, stretching can result in more harm than good.
The Importance of Stretching
To maintain range of motion, stretching is crucial. We need our bodies to be flexible and strong. When we do not move for a long period of time, the muscles tend to feel tight. When you perform any type of physical activity without stretching, you are more likely to injure yourself, increasing the chances of joint pain, strains, spasms, and muscle damage.
If you work a desk job, the chances are that you sit in the same position for hours. This results in tight hamstrings located at the back of the thighs. When you try to extend your leg or straighten out your knee, the tight muscles may start to hurt. Something as simple as running may seem strenuous because you have not stretched, and your muscles are not warmed up.
Sports and physical activities result in exertion. However, by correctly stretching, too much force is not put on the muscles in use. If you have healthy muscles, you will have better balance.
Reasons Why You Must Stretch Before Any Physical Activity
- Muscle tension is reduced, and the body feels calmer.
- Increases coordination and encourages a range of motion.
- Easier movement.
- Keeps injuries and muscle strains at bay.
- Helps prepare your body for a sweaty workout.
- No more sore and stiff muscles.
- Encourages circulation.
- Improves flexibility.
- Increases awareness of different muscles.
- Can help you feel less tired.
Things to Remember When Stretching
Remember we said that sometimes, stretching could do more harm than good? To avoid unnecessary pain, here are a few things to keep in mind when stretching:
- Don’t overexert yourself when stretching. Start slowly and increase your range of motion as your body warms up.
- Let yourself be comfortable. If there is any pain when stretching, stop immediately. However, slight discomfort is normal.
- Take deep breaths and exhale when you bend forwards.
- Try to hold a stretch instead of bouncing. This may cause injuries.
- Flexibility comes with time and practice. Learning to stretch properly first is essential.
Stretching will help you take part in more physical activities that you would never have thought you could be capable of performing. Running, cycling, skiing, and swimming are some physical activities that will come naturally to you and start to feel less strenuous.
You know that muscle soreness you feel at the end of a workout or sport that causes you to stay in bed for the next two days? Say goodbye to all soreness as long as you stretch! Do you want to learn how to stretch properly? Click here.