By: Caelyn Hippen
As many of you know, stretching is a very important element when it comes to physical activity and working out. But maybe you don’t know all of the benefits of it. Stretching has more of an impact on your body than many of us know. Here are some examples of stretching benefits.
First off, there are many types of stretching, such as:
- Dynamic Stretching – active movements and are done to prepare your muscles for movement and exercise.
- Ballistic – bouncing movement; less popular and has been proven to be bad for your muscles.
- Passive stretching – done after your workout and with equipment.
- Static stretching – this stretch is when you hold a certain pose for up to 30 seconds. This stretch is usually performed after a workout.
Here are some benefits before a workout:
- Increased blood flow
- Reduced fatigue
- Increased flexibility and range of motion
- Improved performance in workout
Benefits of stretching after a workout:
- Reduces muscle pain and risk of injury
- Gradual relaxation
- Immediate muscle repair – goes back to lowering your risk of injury, stretching after you workout, especially static stretching, can help you by avoiding muscle cramping and tightness.
Overall benefits stretching has on your body:
- Improves posture – helps your posture as you are stretching new muscles, and strengthening new muscles.
- Helps to heal and reduce back pain – like I said before, stretching increases your range of motion. This comes into play again with stretching your back. Stretching helps release tension in muscles around your back and spine. These tense muscles can cause further pain and can build up as time goes on.
- Calming – did you know that stretching applies to all muscles, including arm muscles, leg muscles, and brain muscles? Meditation and mindfulness is also a type of stretching, like yoga. Mindfulness and meditation exercises are just as important as stretching before a workout.
Tips to a successful stretch:
- To be successful when stretching, it is so important not to overdo it or go past your point of comfort. Stretching should be a relaxing, positive experience. And while after a workout, you do want to stretch your muscles to avoid injury, stretching too far can hurt your muscles just as much as if you didn’t stretch at all.
- Another important thing about stretching to keep in mind is to not go into your stretches cold. It is important to do a warmup activity, such as 50 jumping jacks, before you stretch. This is important because it will help your muscles stretch even farther.
- One more thing, remember that stretching isn’t a one time thing. You need to remember that stretching isn’t something you are good at, it’s just supposed to be fun and calming. Say you have a goal to get your splits, this isn’t necessarily a goal you can set a time limit on. You can tell yourself to stretch everyday, but you can’t push yourself too far or you will get injured and hurt your muscles.