Health & Fitness

Reasons to Stretch before You Exercise

Do you stretch your muscles before you work out at the gym? If you aren’t in the habit of stretching before you exercise you should consider doing so. Some people skip the stretching part of their workout because they think it is a waste of time. Pre-workout stretches have a lot of benefits and they can prepare your body for the exercise ahead.

Here are some of the reasons why stretching before you exercise is so important:

Advantages of Stretching before a Workout

  • When you stretch before a workout you will reduce the risk of injury because your muscles will be less susceptible to tears and strains.
  • Stretching helps to improve flexibility and increases your range of motion.
  • It will also ensure that you have the correct posture, by lengthening your tight muscles that are pulling your body away from its intended position.
  • Stretching helps to reduce and manage stress, as your muscles hold onto tension.
  • You will also improve the mechanical efficiency of your muscles and your overall functional performance. Your body will be able to perform more energy efficient movements, which will improve your overall performance.
  • Stretching also promotes circulation and increases blood supply to the muscles, which will help them to become more resistant to the impact that they are about to undergo.
  • Decreases the risk of low back pain. When you have more flexibility in your hip flexors, hamstrings and the muscles attached to your pelvis you will relieve stress on your lumbar spine, which will reduce your risk of lower back pain.
  • Stretching also helps to reduce the aches and pains that you will experience after a hard workout. You will not be as stiff and sore the next day if you stretch first.
  • You will also be working to create the look of long and lean muscles instead of stunted ones, so that you will have a toned physique.

As well as being beneficial for your body, stretching is also great for your mind. Even a short amount of time stretching, such as 10-15 minutes, will calm your mind and give you a chance to recharge mentally.

Always make sure to make time in your workout to stretch, even if it’s only for five or ten minutes. Focus on the key muscles in your body that you will be using and move slowly and deliberately through the stretches. Hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds and don’t bounce when you are stretching. Overstretching causes muscles to contract and can cause small tears in the fibres. Make sure that you breathe normally when stretching and do not hold your breath. Add variety to your stretching routine by trying different stretches. You might even want to join a yoga class to get some ideas, or look up new stretches online.

Stretches are great for warming up your muscles before you exercise – so that you can prevent injury and have a better workout.

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