Even lifelong health nuts sometimes forget to stretch in their eagerness to get a workout in, and this can be very detrimental to their fitness goals. For many, this forgetfulness is linked to the lack of visible associated results. In reality, there are several key benefits derived from ensuring that you make stretching a part of every exercise routine.
- Activates glutes muscles – our glutes tend to suffer the most when we adopt a sedentary lifestyle. Nerves that feed into this area often atrophy the longer we become accustomed to sitting, and the muscles begin degenerating. Stretching helps to open up circulation and awaken these muscles. Get in the habit of getting up from your chair as often as possible to stretch your glutes and hips muscles.
- Loosens up tight muscles – there are multiple activities that lead to tightening of the muscles including carrying a backpack for long periods, sitting with poor posture and without back support. Stretching helps to loosen up these muscles, and will make you feel better.
- Releases mental tension – taking a 10-15minute break to stretch provides an excellent opportunity to take your mind away from everyday pressures and achieve some calm. Taking a mental break is especially important when you feel stressed and will make you feel more energized before resuming your tasks.
- Eases muscle tension after exercise – fitness experts recommend making stretching an essential part of your cool down after exercise. When you workout, your muscle length shortens and stretching helps to ease the feeling of tightness and soreness.
Stretching allows for the muscles affected to become more flexible. When they are allowed to get tight, it can make injuries more serious and cause pain in other related parts of the body. Lengthening these muscles will improve range of motion and reduce the risk of injury when you do eventually enter into more rigorous physical activity. Stretching also improves blood circulation, ensuring better delivery of blood and nutrients to injured muscles. This means more efficient recovery from injuries and soreness. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your stretching.
- Stretch when your muscles are warmed up. this means doing some warm up exercises beforehand if you intend on stretching before a workout. Also, warm up before a yoga or Pilates session.
- Focus on your major muscle groups, especially those that you make the most use of. The hamstrings, chest and quadriceps are of key importance. Create a routine that focuses on one key are of the body at a time, rather than trying a full body stretch.
- Perform stretching exercises carefully and gently. Our technique will be as important as your carefulness. Learning how to perform the stretching exercises from a fitness instructor is recommended.
- If you are not advanced, avoid stretching and balancing at the same time. use supportive structures like walls and furniture to aid you in gaining stability.
- Stretching is not meant to be painful. If you do feel pain, gently move out of that position. Injuries when stretching are often the result of poor technique.