The reason we go to the gym or workout is to exercise, right? We often forget to stretch prior to exercising. It is almost as if you’re trying to eat a muffin without taking off the tin foil wrap making it more difficult to access the muffin. Stretching mirrors the role of the tin foil thus by stretching, it is easier to exercise. Maybe it is just me, but I don’t think tin foil chews well or tastes very good in my mouth, Ha ha.

Different studies prompt different results of stretching. Some studies show that stretching has no benefit, but for the most part, stretching is a useful part of working out.

Results of stretching include:

  • Improvement in performance
  • Decrease in risk of injury
  • Reduced soreness in muscles
  • Increase of blood flow

However, I believe the most important effect of stretching is the increased range of motions. Flexibility is a luxury and I forget that because I’m always working my flexibility by stretching. It takes time and consistent practice, but I couldn’t imagine living with constant soreness and difficulty in bodily movements.

Stretching isn’t the most comfortable thing at the beginning since you will feel burns in places you didn’t even know could burn. However, it will be worth it once you have an easier time moving around.

When muscles are tight and then used for an activity that can be strenuous to them, they become damaged from suddenly being stretched too far. Then, they become unable to support the joints prompting joint injury. Stretching beforehand gets the muscles warmed up so they don’t become damaged when moved a certain way too quickly.

Stretching can be overwhelming at first, but all body parts don’t need to be stretched. Some of the critical places to be stretched are your calves, hip flexors, quadriceps, shoulders and hamstrings. You can find stretches for these areas on Google or YouTube, but if you are interested in finding a stretch program to fit your condition, consult a physical therapist.

References:

http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-importance-of-stretching

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/stretching/art-20047931

 

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