Stretching – an often overlooked part of most people’s weekly workout routine does more to your body than keeping it limber. Whether you stretch as soon as you wake up or before your workout, incorporating stretching into your daily routine can drastically improve your performance, inside and outside the gym. Let us take a look at 5 reasons why stretching is more important than you think:
Prevent the risk of injury
Stretching as a form of warmup before your exercise significantly reduces the risk of injury. Dynamic stretching (active movement-based stretching where your muscles and joints go through their full range of motion) brings blood flow to your muscles, joints, and tendons and gets them warmed up. Stretching before physical activity helps decrease tightness in the muscles which prevent the chances of muscle strains, pulls, and tears. Performing dynamic stretches for even 10-15 minutes every day helps your joints move through a full range of motion and increases your freedom of movement.
Increases blood flow to muscles
Performing both, dynamic and static stretching (stretches where you hold a position and keep the muscle under tension for a period of time, without movement) improves your blood circulation to the muscles, which, in turn, reduces muscle soreness and aids recovery. While dynamic stretches are a great way to warm up your body before any exercise, static stretches help your body cool down after a workout session. Increasing blood circulation also boosts oxygen levels, delivers important nutrients to your muscles, and helps eliminate metabolic waste like ammonia, uric acid, and carbon dioxide from the body.
Tight muscles and muscle imbalance, especially those in your upper body like chest and back, can lead to poor posture. Stretching for a few minutes every day strengthens these muscles and encourages proper alignment which can help improve your posture over time.
Related - 5 Signs of Exercise Burnout and How to Fix it
Regular stretching helps keep your muscles flexible, long, lean, and strong. This is crucial for your overall health. Flexible muscles not only maintain the range of motion of your joints but also delay the onset of reduced mobility that often comes with old age. Without regular stretching, your muscle fibres shorten and become tight, which prevents you from extending muscles all the way. This can cause a hindrance in your daily activities and also puts you at an increased risk for muscle damage and joint pains.
Promotes relaxation and stress-relief
Stretching not just promotes physical wellness but can be a great way to boost your mental well-being as well. Often, tight and sore muscles are a sign of mental and emotional stress. Areas like the neck, shoulders and upper back become stiff as these body parts most commonly hold stress. Stretching, paired with deep breathing, can be a great way to relax mentally and feel good after a long, tiring day.