Do you think stretching is performed only by runners and gymnasts? Stretching is something that is often overlooked by many of us. The fact is, we all need to stretch to protect our mobility and independence. Stretching is also an important element of any well-rounded exercise routine. One main benefit of regular stretching is that it helps increase the range of motion in the joints, improves posture and blood circulation, enhances athletic performance, and relieves muscular tension throughout the body.
Stretching also boosts nutrition supply to the muscles, as when you stretch, the blood flow in the body is improved, and, in turn, more nutrients are circulated throughout the body. Stretching also reduces stress and releases tension, thus improving one's mental state. Thus, stretching is a great way to give oneself a mental break, to recharge and calm the mind.
Stretching keeps muscles flexible, healthy, and strong, and this flexibility is needed to maintain a range of motion in the joints. The muscles can become weak, tight, shortened, and unable to extend without regular stretching. This can lead to the risk of joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.
Regular stretching keeps muscles long, lean, and flexible, and thus, exertion won't put too much force on the muscle itself. For people with balance problems, healthy muscles gained as a result of stretching helps avoid falls.
Flexibility is the range of motion of a joint or group of joints. Regular stretching can relieve your stiff muscles and creaky joints and help increase the range of motion.
Increasing flexibility can also make your everyday life better and help you to do a lot of daily tasks and day-to-day movements more easily and effectively.
Warming up and stretching before a workout session can help reduce the risk of injury, warm up your muscles, joints, and tendons, and temporarily increases your range of motion. This allows performing the moves in the workout with the ideal body positioning.
Static stretching combined with deep breathing helps the body cool down after a workout before starting the rest of the day. This will also help lower the heart rate, calm the breathing, and ease out more quickly of the heightened state you were in during exercising. Stretching after a workout can also boost oxygen levels, increase blood flow, help deliver nutrients to your body and your muscles, and help with the recovery process.
Stretching can help to identify and correct imbalances in flexibility or areas of extra tightness in the body before they lead to injury.
For many people, stretching makes them feel good and helps reduce chronic stress, and brings them closer to a calmer state. When paired with deep breathing, stretching can help people relax.
Exercise can help keep glucose levels in check. A study conducted among adults who had type 2 diabetes or were prediabetic found that those who stretched for 40 minutes after consuming a sugary beverage had lower blood sugar levels than those who didn't stretch their muscles.
Though stretching has proved to help your fitness routine, it isn't a magic solution to your fitness goals. While stretching can feel amazing, do not let it overtake your fitness routine. Leave time for the other components of fitness like strengthening, cardio, and higher-intensity movements also.
Stretching once won't magically give you perfect flexibility. You'll need to continue it over time and remain committed to the process. It may take weeks to months to get flexible, and you will have to continue working on it to maintain the achieved flexibility.