You'll make the most of your sweat session Unless you're a yogi or a barre aficionado, flexibility may not seem like a huge priority. But regular stretching can help you achieve better form in just about any workout: For something like a squat, it means you could get a deeper squat. Your knees and hip flexors will bend farther. You'll get more out of the workout! I have trained clients before that are so stiff, it was hard for them to even do the correct exercise because their joints couldn’t bend! Flexibility plays a HUGE part in getting the MOST out of your work out! You’ll stress less
Are your shoulders practically touching your ears? Is your back in knots? Stretching can help tame tension both physically and mentally, as it relieves tight muscles while tricking you into feeling more relaxed.
You'll move around more easily and with less pain
Regular stretching can relieve stiff muscles and creaky joints, but to reap those benefits, it's important to stretch the correct way. Focus on mobility by doing range-of-motion exercises and soft tissue work with foam rollers. Range-of-motion exercises include shoulder shrugs, wrist bends, and knee lifts—anything that keeps your muscles and joints moving through (you guessed it!) their full range of motion.
Decreases risk of injury
Dynamic stretches are often used as part of a warm-up to help increase core body temperature and functionally prepare the body for the movements that are to come. As a result, stretching is often considered an important part of injury prevention, as cold muscles and tendons in the body have a greater likelihood of rupture, strain or sprain. This is why athletes are demanded to get stretched after practices/games to prevent future injuries.
Improve energy levels
Sometimes you may have trouble staying awake during your long, dragging day. If you’re feeling this way then it might help to get out of your seat and do a few good stretches for a boost of energy, helping your mind and body be more alert. Muscles tighten when we get tired and that makes us feel even more lethargic, so feel free to stand up and do some stretches. It will help you to quickly and efficiently revitalize your energy levels!
Promotes blood circulation
It increases blood flow to the muscles. Not only will this help reduce post-workout soreness and shorten recovery time, but it will improve overall health. Greater blood circulation helps promote cell growth and organ function. The heart rate will also lower since it doesn’t have to work as hard and blood pressure will become more even and consistent.
Stretching before and after a workout gives your muscles time to relax. Increases in blood flow increase nutrient supply to the muscles and relieve soreness in the muscles after a workout. This is why I ALWAYS encourage my clients to stretch before they go to sleep day of our session!
Reduced pain and stiffness
Excessive muscular tension can increase discomfort throughout the body. However, studies have shown that regularly performing static stretching can help to decrease stiffness, reduce pain levels (especially in individuals with chronic neck or low-back pain), and may even reduce the frequency and severity of muscle cramps.
Paired with a healthy diet, engaging in prolonged stretching exercises can help reduce cholesterol in the body. This could prevent and even reverse the hardening of arteries, helping one avoid heart diseases.
Regularly performing stretching exercises, also help to reduce blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rate, counteracting the body’s physiological responses to stress and muscular tension.
As a result of poor posture, repetitive movement patterns, improper body mechanics, and spending long periods of time seated, muscles in the body can become chronically tense, tight and contracted, causing them to become less strong and supple. Regular stretching utilizing a variety of flexibility training techniques helps to improve overall function by ensuring that the body can more effectively respond to the stresses imposed by various types of movement and activity.
When included as part of a well-rounded fitness routine, regular flexibility training, which includes dynamic stretching, can help enhance agility, power, speed and muscular strength.
Improved blood flow and circulation
Regular flexibility training can help to improve blood flow and circulation, thereby allowing for the enhanced transportation of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood throughout the body.
Minimized wear and tear on joints
When muscles become chronically tight and tense, opposing muscles become weakened, producing unnecessary wear and tear on various joint and structures within the body. Regular stretching helps to ensure the muscles on each side of a joint maintain an equal degree of pull so that the joint is able to move freely and efficiently in all directions, allowing for optimal movement and less stress on the body.
Improved quality of life
Although there are physiological changes that occur as we grow older, regularly stretching and performing range of motion exercises can improve flexibility at any age, helping to increase longevity and enhance overall quality of life!
For Your Mind
Even a short amount of time (10-15 minutes) of stretching can calm the mind, provide a mental break, and give your body a chance to recharge
Classes like yoga or pilates offer you a chance to spend an hour releasing tension physically and mentally.
To get the most out of the stretching you do, here are some suggestions:
Skip the pre-workout stretch.
Your muscles should be warm before you begin your stretching. Do a warmup before a workout that simulates the movements you’ll be doing in order to warm up and prepare your body. Stretch after the workout when your muscles are already warm.
Focus on the muscles that need the most help.
Instead of trying to stretch your whole body after every time you exercise, focus on a key area of the body each time. Spend longer on each stretch and include more stretches for each area. If you are aware of muscles that are tight, then focus on those ones.
Include one long-duration flexibility session each week.
Choose a flexibility class, such as yoga, hot yoga, pilates, or do your own flexibility work for 45-60 minutes at least once a week. If you’re having trouble sticking to it, try a professional stretcher/masseuse. I tried my first stretch session with Sookie the other day at H.E.A.T gym and definitely recommend her 30-minute stretch sessions. Not only does she loosen/stretch your muscles, she will get to the root of the problem as to why your certain muscles are stiff/sore and what you need to do to fix the problem!