Did you know that stretching is, in most cases, just as important as daily exercise? Unfortunately, it is often overlooked, skipped or forgotten about. Hopefully, the following information will inspire you to think twice about skipping out on this important aspect of fitness during your daily routine.
Some of the benefits of stretching include:
– Improved flexibility
– Increased blood and nutrient supply to muscles
– Improved posture
By improving your flexibility, you are able to improve your range of motion. With increased range of motion, you are able to perform tasks, like walking, with less compensations. When we allow our body to perform tasks with appropriate mechanics we are able to avoid injury and pain. So, you see, there is a downward spiral that takes place just by not stretching.
Additionally, increased blood and nutrient supply to the muscles helps prepare your body for the exercise ahead. It is important to keep in mind, though, that you never want to stretch cold muscles. When working out, it is important to begin with a 10-15 minute warm up period that you can achieve by walking or biking followed by your stretches. Now, you do not need to stretch your whole body, but rather those muscle groups that you plan to be working. For example, on leg day, make sure to stretch hamstrings, quads, and calfs; just to name a few.
In regards to postural presentation, stretching will help reduce muscle tightness. By lengthening tight muscles, you are able to reduce the pull they place on your body which keeps you in an undesirable postural presentation. For example, by stretching your hamstrings you are able to stand taller and hold your pelvis in a more anatomically correct position; thus, reducing low back pain.
These are just a few reasons why stretching is so important to do on a daily basis. If you are finding yourself in increased pain for unknown reasons, sometimes starting out with a good stretching program can help reduce your symptoms. If you are unsure of where to start or how to begin, feel free to contact our office or discuss with your doctor an interest in physical therapy. We would love to educate and help you get started on a stretching/exercise program tailored to your needs.