The Benefits of Incorporating Stretching into Your Exercise Routine
Stretching is an extremely important part of any exercise routine. Even with this understanding, not everybody stretches before or after engaging in physical activity. Stretching should not only be performed by elite athletes, rather, we all need to do it in order to increase mobility and protect ourselves from injury. If you aren’t regularly exercising, stretching should still be performed on a daily basis, especially as you get older. A few minutes of stretching can go a long way in helping your muscles stay healthy, strong and flexible.
Important Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Skip Stretching
If you fail to stretch, your muscles will start to shrink and tighten. When you participate in physical activity, these muscles will be weakened and unable to support your body, increasing your risk of developing joint pain and muscle damage. Similarly, stretching after any kind of exercise can also reduce your risk of injury in addition to speeding up your body’s recovery. Thus, stretching should not be overlooked as it is one of the best and most effective ways to ease pain and improve your overall health.
Here are a few more reasons why stretching before and after physical activity is important:
- Reduce Risk of Injury: One of the main reasons why we stretch is to reduce the risk of sustaining an injury during or after any form of physical activity. Since stretching can significantly improve your range of motion, your muscles are less likely to experience resistance. Stretching after a workout will help your muscles repair any damage from exercising.
- Increase Blood Flow: Stretching supplies fresh, oxygenated blood to your muscles which ultimately relieves pain, improves performance and reduces your risk of injury. It also helps to circulate your blood through your brain which can give you a surge of energy and increased concentration.
- Eliminate Lactic Acid: If you are engaging in an intense form of physical activity, you may be prone to lactic acid build-up which can make your muscles sore. Stretching will help eliminate lactic acid which will help you avoid pain and fatigue during a high-intensity training session.
- Improve Performance: No matter what type of exercise you’re doing, stretching before any form of physical activity will improve your overall performance. Your body will have fresh oxygen, your risk of injury is reduced and you’ll have that vital boost of energy.
- Deepen Body Movement: Stretching reduces tight muscle areas, increasing flexibility and giving you a better range of motion. The more you stretch; the better. It will enable you to participate in physical activities much more effectively.
- Ease Tension and Anxiety: If you experience general tension and anxiety, your muscles will feel it too. Release any tension by stretching those muscles out before and after physical activity for a little boost in mindfulness and relaxation. Stretching after a workout also has the benefit of releasing endorphins to ensure you remain energized even after exercising.
Stretching is a committed process but the more you stick to it, the greater benefits you’ll experience. If you have recently experienced an injury and are looking to improve your condition with professional help, the physical therapists at Medical Rehabilitation Centers of Pennsylvania are here to help. For over 40 years, we have been providing superior, patient-focused care that includes comprehensive evaluations and assessments to determine your exact rehabilitation needs. From there, our licensed physical therapists can devise an individualized care plan with the goal of providing you with significant improvements or resolution to the condition you are currently experiencing. We offer professional stretching services, in addition to a number of others, to help you increase your flexibility and regain joint mobility so you can continue performing at your very best.