Why is Stretching Important?
Whether you step into the gym, go outside for a run, or head to a cycle class, an important component to getting a great workout in, is to always stretch before you start and after you finish your sweat session. For some reason, stretching is often times overlooked or not done—maybe you don’t want to spend time doing it, maybe you don’t feel the results, or maybe you just forget.
But stretching keeps your muscles flexible, strong, and healthy. It prevents injury and allows your body to maintain a range of motions in your joints. Stretching lengthens your muscles, allowing them to extend as you push yourself during your Zumba class or weightlifting. Without it, the muscles shorten and tighten, putting you at risk for pain, strains, and damage. It also makes you weaker and unable to fully extend, decreasing the effort you’re putting into your workout.
That being said, it’s recommended to stretch not just before and after your workout, but on a regular basis! With a body full of muscles that are constantly working, it may seem overwhelming, but focusing on target areas, and starting with the basics, will dramatically improve how you feel when you do workout, and during your daily routines of movement. Stretching can even be added to your daily routines, for example, in the morning while you wait for your coffee, do some stretches. Or, while watching television, reach for your toes and get a stretch in!
Here are some basic target areas you should stretch three to four times a week:
- Hip Flexors
- Front Thighs
- Lower Back
So, what are the benefits of all this stretching? Here are just some of the benefits to keep you motivated!
- Reduces Risk of Injury
- Improves Posture
- Helps Reduce Stress
- Promotes Blood Circulation
- Decreases Post-Exercise Aches
Stretching is something that can be done in various poses, anytime of the day without any equipment. No matter how active you are, or what sport you enjoy playing, every person needs to stretch in order to stay healthy and injury-free.
We encourage you to start small with your stretching goals. Aim to stretch for 10 minutes, three times per week. You’ll start to see results, and eventually can add in more stretching with your daily routine!
Check Out These Resources with Stretches You Can Do!
- The Ultimate Guide to Stretching Before & After a Run (womensrunning.com)
You can also check out the It’s Time Texas Instagram, where we post more tips and tricks for healthy practices or attend a FREE, virtual fitness class by visiting StrongerAustin.com.