6 Benefits of Stretching

What are the benefits of stretching

So I’ve got my gym shoes on playlist picked, water bottle filled let’s do this … I walk into the gym straight on to the treadmill … Prodigy Firestarter comes on and I am then suddenly transported to the Creamfields festival … I finish that and then head over to the free weights at this point I’m overly happy that I have my earphones on as  I spot a juice head over in the corner deadlifting  20 kilos which have brought on his full-blown labour pains  (poor guy)… Another absolute tune comes on and 30 minutes later I have smashed my way through a leg session … I leave feeling on top of the world…. must book tickets for Creamfields next year (its December)… I get on with my day filled with excitement for tomorrows sessions.

Tomorrow morning comes round … hold on !! something doesn’t feel right, I feel like I’ve forgotten something,  I’m definitely missing something did I leave my legs in the gym yesterday oh no here they are, ill take them to the bathroom definitely had my full quota of water yesterday … but hold on have I turned into a man overnight why will my body not allow me to sit down… I then manage to manoeuvre myself into the position needed, about now I sound like that juice heads sister .. ok so I try to stand up but I’m actually so scared to do so there’s nothing else for it ill have to call in sick ..ha! note to self, cancel Creamfields tickets.

Hands up who puts 110% into there work out and minus 110% into there Stretching.

Stretching has many benefits including injury prevention, preventing sore muscles increased flexibility and range of motion, improved sports performance,  improving posture and stress relief.

I’ve outlined some of these benefits below:

 

Increased flexibility and range of motion

This is the most obvious benefit of regular stretching and usually the reason that people will tend to start a stretching programme. Although, reasons for stretching do usually go much deeper than this. For example, what are the reasons you want to increase your flexibility? Is it to improve your sporting performance, posture, or prevent injury?

Improving sporting performance

Many sports will obviously require high levels of flexibility, as an example Gymnastics and Athletics. But even athletes in sports such as Rugby, where flexibility is not immediately thought of as a key component, becoming more flexible can improve their performance. In order to have healthy muscles, they must be flexible. This will definitely help to prevent injuries, but it will also allow you to develop strength through the full range of motion at the joint. This gives an advantage over someone who has a limited range.

Injury Prevention

Being more flexible can help to prevent injuries. This can include some acute injuries, such as a hamstring strain and overuse injuries such as IT band syndrome or plantar fasciitis. Stretching has been used in the warm-up and warm down processes for many years. It is thought that having flexible muscles can prevent acute injuries by gently stretching the muscle through its range before exercise. Dynamic (active) stretches are now recommended for warm-ups, over the traditional static stretch.

Stress relief

Stressed?? this can often be associated with Muscle tightness – we tend to tighten up when stressed. Exercise also does wonders to prevent stress, For example, the neck muscles take a lot of the brunt here Stretching relaxes these muscles and you at the same time!

Improving Posture

In many cases of poor posture which has developed over time, muscle imbalances are to blame. A good example is the chest muscles becoming shortened in people who slouch over a computer for long periods. Stretching these muscles can help to improve posture.

Preventing DOMS

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) occurs 24-48 hours after exercise. It is thought to be due to microscopic tears in the muscle. Stretching before and after training is thought to minimise this damage.

You should put the same emphasis you put into a work out into stretching it is a vital part of an exercise routine. Even if you aren’t exercising its great to incorporate stretching into your daily routine. Once an injury occurs and it is down to lack of stretching, you will be kicking yourself for it…well unless it’s your leg you’ve injured.

Stay Stunning