By Suresh Soundale
“Stretching is just for athletes” is the most widespread belief you might have heard. But does it hold any weight? Let’s see.
Most of us ignore stretching before and after our workouts as we are racing against time but is this the right way to go?
There are a lot of questions wondering about the topic. In this article, you will find out why we should focus more on stretching and what pulls you should do before and after the workouts.
You must not Ignore Stretching anymore
Stretching should be an integral part of our life as our sedentary lifestyle. Due to sitting in the same place for long hours, our muscles tend to become short and rigid, especially in the lower body parts.
Short and rigid muscles would mean less flexibility. That can result in muscle damage when performing a hectic activity. The strain on muscles can cause joint pain or, in some cases, injuries.
We all want to avoid it, right?
What are the Benefits of Stretching?
Our body needs a threshold of flexibility and strength to carry out daily life activities. Most of this flexibility and strength will depend on your muscles. You will be good to go if they are strong and flexible enough.
Stretching can help you achieve your goal in both cases.
- Increased blood flow:
Stretching your body will increase the blood flow in that separate area. More blood flow means strength to carry out heavy activities.
- Increased flexibility and Range of Motion (ROM):
With proper postures, stretching can loosen up your tight muscles and tendons to increase your body’s flexibility. It would also be better for your ROM, which will indirectly help you while exercising.
- Increase in Overall performance:
With better flexibility and more blood flow, your body will perform better in any condition.
Why should you Stretch before working out?
So when should we stretch? Wouldn’t it be hectic to pull our muscles daily and work out? Is that essential? Let’s dive in.
Before you work out, all the muscles in your body are in calm conditions. In those conditions, the body is more prone to injuries. When you start your stretching, your muscles loosen and begin warming up. That would help your body get accustomed to the intensity of workouts, and the chances of injuries also drop considerably.
Things you should keep in check while Stretching before a workout:
- You should be rigorous while stretching; that’s why it is called a warm-up for a reason.
- You should also not be lazy enough that your muscles don’t get warmed at all.
- You should perform dynamic stretches before you go to a workout.
- You should stretch the muscles that you will work out for 5-10 minutes at least.
What are dynamic stretches, and why should you perform them before starting your workout?
Dynamic stretching is where you actively move your muscles and joints through a full range of motion. Dynamic stretching can mimic your exercise to get warmed up. For example, A football athlete can perform high jumps, fast sprints, and dynamic stretches.
Studies show that dynamic stretching before excising benefits athletes, heavy lifters, and all kinds of exercises.
These stretches warm your body up and are suitable for any exercise.
Should you consider stretching after a workout as well?
After your workout, the body, especially the muscles, are all tensed up and torn apart. Should you go home directly and save your time or stretch for a bit?
The muscles, after the workout, are in a state of emergency. They need to relax gradually. A natural form of relaxation can harm the muscle into an injury.
So how do you gradually relax that pumped-up muscle? By stretching, of course.
- Stretching after workouts can reduce pain by loosening up the muscles.
- Those loose muscles can avoid injury due to the lessening of tension.
- The gradual relaxation of muscles will help your mind cope with the body.
- As we work out, the body releases lactic acid, sometimes making your muscles feel tired and itchy. Stretching can limit its production amount.
You should not perform dynamic stretches after working out as your body is in a stressed environment.
Then what are the other available options?
Static stretching is where you extend your muscle and hold them for a while. Static stretching helps your muscles to loosen up and relax gradually.
I hope you have a clear idea of stretching before and after your workout.
Suresh Soundale is a freelance content and copywriter. He has experience of 5+ years and expertise in the health and fitness industry. Suresh is a generalist writer with expertise in health, lifestyle, travel, and marketing niches. If you want content that catches the eyes and ears of a reader while making them feel connected with your brand, Suresh is just the right person for you.