According to experts, there are several health benefits of stretching; it helps to work on your muscles, helps you feel relaxed, eases your stress and body aches, and gives more flexibility and mobility to your muscles and joints.
According to researchers and fitness experts, stretching regularly before and after any physical exercise is healthy for your body. It helps you to maintain good posture and reduces the risk of injury that comes with exercising.
As a rule, always stretch whenever you go for your workout routine. Make it a ritual for yourself to stretch before starting your physical exercise and when you are through.
However, keep in mind that there are two types of stretching — static and dynamic.
Static stretches benefit you more after an exercise; hence it is recommended after your workout routines. Here, you hold a stretch in a comfortable position between 10 and 30 seconds.
Dynamic stretches, on the other hand, are recommended before an exercise. They are active movements that stretch your muscles, but it is not held in the end position. Dynamic stretches help to get your body ready for exercises.
There are several tips you need to observe to get the best of your stretches. But before we get into that, let’s consider some important health benefits of stretching.
#1. It improves your performance in physical activities and prevents injury
Research shows that regular stretching loosens tissues and muscles before an exercise. For instance, stiff hamstrings and poor range of knee motion could lead to a hamstring injury. But you can prevent this by dynamic stretches before any exercise. Another study also found that both static and dynamic stretching reduces lower back pain and muscle strains.
In addition to preventing or reducing the chances of incurring injuries, athletes have found stretching to be particularly helpful in improving their performance during an exercise. You can expect to get the same result if you apply the same strategy each time before starting your exercises.
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#2. Stretching improves your flexibility
Regular stretching can help improve the range of motion of your muscles and joints. And moving your joint always gives you more freedom of movement, thus improving your muscles’ flexibility. Studies so far suggested that both static and dynamic stretching aid in improving the range of motion.
If you enjoy hiking, running, and other similar physical activities, you’ll need stretching to get the best performance out of your exercises. Generally, the range of mobility tends to diminish with age. Therefore, to avoid limitations to your movements and performance in activities, it is important to take stretching seriously.
#3. Stretching improves your posture
As people get older, they may begin to get hunched, have shorter strides, and a lower range of motion. However, engaging in flexibility exercises can help you build or maintain a better posture and balance. If you do a desk job where you have to sit for long hours during the day, you’ll find that your balance, stability, and posture may begin to get wobbly as you spend more time doing the same thing.
To correct this, you need to incorporate healthy and regular stretching into your daily routine. Previous studies on this subject demonstrated how intensive adherence to a stretching routine could decrease slouched shoulders and improve sitting balance.
#4. Stretching helps to prevent back pain
Tight muscles can severely reduce your range of mobility. And when your mobility is reduced, you are prone to straining your back. The best way to improve this condition is to create a regular stretching routine and stick to it.
Even if you have been experiencing back pain, you can still correct it with regular stretching. Also, a regular stretching exercise can significantly reduce the risk of developing back pain in the future.
#5. Stretching can help relieve you of stress
One of the amazing health benefits of stretching is the opportunity to lose all the stress that’s accumulated in your body. Since stress could cause the body muscles to contract and tighten up, it means that regular stretching can help you relax your muscle and dispel stress. Hence, a good way to release the tension in your muscles is by utilizing stretching exercises.
While at it, it’s important to focus on the parts of your body where stress tends to build up more. Your shoulders, upper back, knees, neck, joints, etc., should be focused on.
Standard tips for the best stretching routines
Here are some safety tips and recommendations for observing your stretching very well.
- As already mentioned, use dynamic stretches before you begin exercising and static stretches after exercises.
- If you have an existing injury or medical condition which stretching may affect, consult with your doctor for expert recommendations.
- According to expert recommendations, it’s best not to bounce or observe ballistic stretching unless a physician specifically recommends it to you.
- While stretching, do not be tempted to overstretch or go beyond your comfort zone. Chances are, as you stretch, your range of mobility improves, and over time, you can stretch more.
- If you’re cold, it is better to wait until your body warms up before stretching. If you go stretching in the cold, you may have to work your muscles extra to make them pliable. That could cause muscle strain or other injuries.
Stretching is more important to your body than you think. It has amazing benefits which will help you to be fit and develop good posture. Integrating regular stretching into your daily routine and exercise routine will improve your stability, posture, and flexibility. It is a good way to relax and deal with stress and back pain.