Why is Stretching So Important Before a Workout?

Why is Stretching So Important Before a Workout?

This blog post was updated on July 21, 2020. Previous comments have not been edited or deleted.

When it comes to exercise, many people don’t focus on stretching as much as they should. Instead, many people go for a run or lift weights without preparing their bodies at all. Not only can this increase the likelihood of injury, this can also prevent you from experiencing the full benefits from your workout.

In fact, there are many benefits of stretching that go far beyond injury prevention. There are numerous mental and physical benefits to stretching, especially when done before and after a workout. Stretching increases range of motion, improves balance, and even helps to improve your mood.

There are numerous benefits to stretching, but here are 5 key benefits that go along with stretching with every workout:

Benefit #1: Improved Flexibility
Benefit #2: Balance
Benefit #3: Lower Risk of Injury
Benefit #4: Improved Blood Flow and Circulation
Benefit #5: Lowered Tension and Stress

Each of these benefits is integral to a happy and healthy active lifestyle. Let’s take a closer look at each benefit and how stretching can help improve your life.

Benefit #1: Improved Flexibility

When our muscles are challenged and pulled, they respond by becoming more flexible. This results in a greater range of motion for the muscle. When you workout, your muscles expand and contract, strengthening your muscles. But without stretching out, this leads to tight muscles. When you stretch with a workout, not only are your muscles strengthened, but they also become more flexible.

Benefit #2: Balance

It’s easy for our muscles to become rigid while going through our day to day activities, especially if you carry a bag or use. According to personal trainer Nicole Palacios, “The heavier the bag, the more your muscles can tighten up on one side. Stretching can alleviate muscle tightness and bring your body back to feeling better balanced.” Stress on one side of your body can lead to greater risk of stress related injuries to one side. Through stretching, we are able to counteract this uneven tightness, and help balance out the body.

Benefit #3: Less Risk of Injury

By stretching, you increase your body’s ability to withstand the stresses that occur during physical activity. Because injuries occur when your body is unable to handle the amount of force that it receives, stretching is critical to prevent injury. Stretching allows your body to reset in a way, by preventing residual tension from causing increased force on your joints and muscles.

Benefit #4: Improved Blood Flow and Circulation

When we stretch, we feel it directly in our muscles. At the same time, tension is relieved along the routes that our blood and lymph travel. This allows circulation to be improved through the affected area. This is especially helpful for recovery at the end of a workout. “After exercising, your muscles may feel tight,” notes Palacios. “Directly after you workout, you should stretch the muscles that you just trained to feel less tense.”

Benefit #5: Lowered Tension and Stress

Stretching reduces stress throughout your body. It is even more beneficial to stretch in a calm atmosphere. Incorporating breathing techniques and meditation can help as well. That’s why Lydia Di Francesco, a personal trainer and nutritionist, recommends participating in a yoga or pilates class once per week, or doing your own 45-60 minute routine at home.

Note: a routine of this length and intensity is something to be worked towards. If you are new to stretching, yoga, or pilates, there are several beginner classes that can be found online or at your local yoga studio. It is important to consult with your physician before beginning any new exercise program.

You want to carefully move into the stretch, using the breathing to help your body relax and stop resisting the movement (although care should always be taken to prevent over stretching).

Expert Help

If you suffer from chronic joint pain, or if you have experienced an injury, the experts at Flexogenix® are here to help. Contact us today for a no-cost consultation and let us give you a personalized plan to relieve your pain and improve your life.

Additionally, if you are interested in beginning a new exercise routine, our Kineti-Flex® coaches can create a comprehensive personalized workout plan for you to safely exercise and improve your flexibility.

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