Oftentimes people go straight into a workout and forget about doing a warm up or stretching beforehand. This is not the best idea as there are many benefits to stretching and warming up your body before exercise. It is important to do a short warm up and stretch each and every time. Here are some benefits to stretching before and after a workout:
- May reduce injury risk: If you jump right into a workout without a proper warm up and stretch there is a greater chance for injury. By warming up and stretching the muscles, you increase the range of motion and decrease the resistance on your body’s muscles.
- Help relieves post exercise aches: Muscles tend to shorten and tighten after a workout, which leads to ache and pains. By stretching your muscles out, it can help elongate your muscles and prevent any post workout aches.
- Decreases muscle stiffness and increases range of motion: Stretching helps to elongate your muscles and remove tension. Stretching regularly helps to increase flexibility, range of motion and decrease stiff muscles.
- Helps reduce or manage stress: Stress tightens muscles. After a stressful work day one often finds they have tight muscles in their neck, back and shoulders. Stretching can help reduce this tightness, encourage relaxation and reduce injury odds.
- Improves posture: If your neck, shoulders and upper back are tight and painful, it can lead to a hunched over posture. By doing stretches for these areas, it can help to improve your posture and reduce any hunching.
- Prepares the body for exercise stressors: By stretching before exercise, you are allowing your muscles to relax and loosen up before putting them under the stress of exercise. By doing this, your muscles will be able to better handle the impact of the activity you are about to partake in.
- Promotes circulation: One of the great benefits to stretching is that it increases the blood supply to your muscles and joints. This will allow for greater nutrient transportation and improve circulation through your body.
- Decreases the risk of low back pain: Tight and painful muscles in your legs and hips can affect your lower back. By doing stretches, you can help increase flexibility which helps to relieve stress on your spine which helps reduce your risk of pain in your lower back.
Not taking the time to warm up and stretch your muscles before and after exercise is a detriment to yourself. Take 5-15 minutes to get a nice little warm up and stretch to help prevent injury and improve flexibility.