Do you do everything you can to increase your physical fitness, such as eating right and performing regular cardio and strength training exercises, but neglect to take the time to stretch? If so, you could be missing a very important key to good health.
Benefits of Stretching
Performing daily exercises that involve stretching your muscles is important to your overall physical wellness. Some benefits of stretching include:
- Increased flexibility and greater range of motion
- Reduced likelihood of injury or soreness during and after exercise or other strenuous activity
- Fewer problems with muscle stiffness and pain as you age
Because of these reasons, stretching should be included in your health and fitness regimen as a way to get and stay in top shape.
To keep your muscles functional, commit to stretching on a daily basis. First though, you’ll want to make sure you warm up as stretching cold muscles can cause injury. You can do this by walking briskly for five to ten minutes before doing any flexibility exercises.
Next, when you stretch your muscles, you’ll want to do so using controlled movements. Performing stretches that are quick and bouncy may cause you to overextend and create unnecessary pain or strain. Think yoga-type moves that are slow and graceful.
You’ll also want to choose stretches that involve the muscles that you are about to use in your sport or activity of choice. For instance, if you’re a runner and about to engage in a three mile excursion, you’ll want to concentrate on stretching your thighs, hamstrings and calves.
Not only is it important to stretch before exercise, it’s equally important to stretch after as well. You will help your muscles release any tension they have and allow them to go back to a lengthened state, which will keep you pain free both immediately and in the future.
Speaking of pain, if you feel any pain when stretching, make sure you stop immediately. Stretching shouldn’t hurt. It should be a mild discomfort because you are lengthening the muscles, but never pain.
Stretching regularly will keep your body flexible and your muscles lean, strong and healthy. How’s that for a great results with one simple exercise?