Hands up who finishes their workout without stretching? Go on admit it – perhaps just putting your arm up in the air then was enough of a stretch hey! It’s certainly not uncommon to forgo this part of exercising but you won’t be maximising your gym routine or your health if you do.
There are many benefits to stretching, so much so, that lots of group exercise classes can be found that focus purely on stretching and then of course you have disciplines that have a very strong element of stretching involved such as Pilates.
Why is stretching so important then?
Well let’s start with what happens if you don’t stretch? Tightening of the muscles can occur in a relatively short amount of time and these tightened muscles will then start to pull on the joints they are attached to, causing pain, then injury and affecting normal function, which can drastically reduce mobility – Not good news!
An example of this issue would be clients suffering non specific back pain, which can be caused simply by having tight hamstrings.
The solution is simple, always stretch after your workout and add in stretch specific sessions to your schedule, especially if you are stuck in one position for several hours each day at work.
The benefits of stretching are numerous and include helping your muscles to recover faster from exercise, no one likes that day after, the day after soreness, which can be excruciating and often is the part that puts people off exercising all together. Stretching also helps prevent injury by enhancing your range of movement, keeping you flexible. Blood flow and circulation are improved, helping to reduce blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rate. Stretching will also aid to improve performance, including agility, power, speed and muscular tone, minimising wear and tear on joints.
All of these factors contribute to enhance your overall health and wellbeing, proving the importance of stretching as an essential component of fitness that shouldn’t be ignored.
– This Article has been published in the November edition of Life Magazine – http://www.lifemagazines.co.uk