Benefits of Stretching
Benefits of Stretching
Are you guilty of forgetting to stretch before and after your workout? You’re not alone! More than half of us who do exercise on a regular basis don’t stretch pre and post workout. Stretching is just as important as regular exercise and should be done on a daily basis. Here’s what you need to know about the importance of the daily stretch session.
Most of us spend our days sitting at a desk in the same posture and are subsequently causing damage to our bodies. Muscles, like other tissues in our body, need to be kept well circulated and healthy. If we continue to deny our bodies a daily stretch we can overuse and fatigue our muscles making them short and tight. In return, we decrease circulation, decrease flexibility, form unnecessary adhesions and connective tissues and increase muscle aches and pain.
In order to keep your muscles healthy you need to do incorporate time for stretching in your exercise routine.
What you need to know about stretching:
- Never stretch when your muscles are cold – always do a warm up exercise e.g. brisk walk or light job to warm up your muscles. This increases blood flow and your overall body temperature making your muscles more flexible
- After your warm up, do dynamic* stretches that warm up the main muscles you are going to be using for your workout. For example, running requires the use of your calves, quads, hamstrings and hips. We recommend doing calf-raises, squats, hip lifts, lunges and knee hugs.
- Once you’ve finished your workout, you can do static* stretches to help cool the body down. Hold each stretch for no longer than 30 seconds.
- Your pre and post workout stretch routine should take anywhere between 5-10 minutes.
- If you don’t have a chance to hit the gym make sure you get up from your desk and stretch for at least 10 minutes 3 times a day. Take a look at our blog on how to keep active at work to see the top deskercises.
Stretching benefits you both your body and mind in several ways:
For your body:
- Improves flexibility and range of motion
- Corrects posture
- Strengthens muscles
- Decreases chance of injury
- Reduces muscle tension
- Increases circulation of blood
- Increases energy levels
- Improves balance
- Reduces delayed onset muscle soreness
- Relieves PMS
- Loosens muscles and enables you to exercise for longer
- Relieves fatigue
For your mind:
- Calms and clears the mind
- Releases tension mentally and physically
With all these amazing benefits, you'll no longer have a reason to skip that stretch session! Remember stretching increases your flexibility gradually, so don't push yourself too hard during your first few sessions, stay within your limits.
*Dynamic stretches consists of controlled leg and arm swings that take you (gently) to the limits of your range of motion.
*Static stretching consists of stretching muscle (or a group of muscles) to its farthest point and then maintaining or holding that position.