Why Stretching Is Important

stetching exerciseIf you plunge headlong into a workout routine without prepping your body, you are setting yourself up for injuries and after-exercise pains.

Warming Up

Warming up before an exercise routine is important because it prevents scenario above from happening.

Warm-up activities may refer to several light-aerobic and cardiovascular activities. A warm-up literally involves warming up your body and muscle temperature. In addition, warming up:

  • raises your heart and respiratory rate

  • increases the amount of oxygen and nutrients delivered to your muscles

  • preps your body for am intense workout

  • makes it easier to burn calories

  • extends your workout

Types of warm-ups

Warm-ups may be the exercise you are about to do, but at a slower pace. For instance, if you are about to go running, warm up by doing a light jog. A warm-up lasts about 5-10 minutes.

Stretching

Stretching used to be the warm-up activity. Now, stretching is done after warming up, because was found that stretching cold muscles can contribute to pulled and torn muscles. Stretching is also best done after the work out.

Proper stretching offers the following benefits:

  • reduce muscle injuries

  • increased flexibility

  • increased joint range of motion

  • correct exercise posture

  • relaxed muscles

  • better coordination

Proper stretching tips

To reap its benefits, stretching has to be performed correctly. Below are a few guidelines to proper stretching:

  • Stop if you feel pain

    Stretching is not supposed to hurt. If you get to the point where it stretching gets painful, relax to where it comfortable and hold it there.

  • Hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds

    Holding for less than 10-30m seconds is not enough to lengthen the muscle. Stretch your muscles gradually. Avoid bobbing. Bobbing can damage the muscle you are stretching. It may even cause scar tissue to form. Scar tissue tightens muscles and affect flexibility.

  • Breathe

    Breathing is important in any workout.

  • Practice balance

    Make sure you stretch both sides of your body equally. All of your muscles should be ready for your workout.

Cooling down

Cooling down basically refers to gradually slowing down your body after a work-out. Cooling down, just like warming up, may be the activity you were just doing, but slowed-down. For example, if you were running, gradually slow down to a walk to cool down. Cooling down helps the body recover from an exercise. A cool-down routine should include a light aerobic activity and stretching.

Cooling down and stretching helps:

  • slow your heart rate to normal speed

  • return your breathing to normal pace

  • reduces risks of dizziness and lightheadedness

  • relaxes muscles