Stretching is one component of fitness that a lot of us find a way to skip. However, there are both mental and physical benefits to incorporating stretching into your routine. Whether you stretch pre-workout, at the end of your session, or another time during the day, anyone who makes time for stretching may find it helps their workouts—and daily life.
1. Stretching improves flexibility.
Stretching can help increase your range of motion—both temporarily and in the long-term. The temporary gains may be the result of your nervous system becoming more tolerant to a stretch position. These gains often disappear within a day or even a few hours. To actually lengthen the muscle and improve your range of motion long-term, you need to stretch diligently about five to six days a week.
2. Stretching makes day-to-day life feel easier.
Increasing your flexibility won’t just improve your workouts—it can also make everyday life better too. There are a lot of daily tasks that involve some level of flexibility, like reaching for something in a cabinet, bending in the shower while washing, and squatting down to pick up your toddler. By boosting your flexibility with stretching, you’ll be able to perform these small, but essential, movements more easily and effectively.
3. Stretching may decrease your risk of injury and disease.
Warming up before a workout can help reduce your risk of injury, and dynamic stretching is one component of a good warm-up. Dynamic stretching helps warm up your muscles, joints, and tendons, temporarily increasing your range of motion. This, in turn, can help you perform the moves in your workout with the ideal body positioning.
Stretching may also improve your circulation, increasing blood flow to your muscles. Having good circulation can help protect you against a host of illnesses, from diabetes to kidney disease. Greater flexibility has even been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
4. Stretching helps you relax.
For a lot of people, stretching just feels good. And things that make us feel good can help reduce stress and bring us closer to a calmer state. Stretching can be especially relaxing mentally if you pair it with deep breathing.
5. Stretching serves as an act of self-care
Stretching can be a true act of self-care. The movement can provide a sense of release and help you feel grounded in your body. It can also serve as a reminder that you took the time to do something restorative for yourself and forces you to really listen to your body.
6. Stretching ends your workout on a positive note
Sometimes a hard workout can leave you feeling depleted. Finish by doing some gentle stretches to end your workout on a happier note. If doing gentle stretches makes you think more positively about the workout in general, you’re more likely to work out again!
Curious about other health, exercise, or pain management tips? Contact the top orthopedic doctors at ProOrtho today. Request an appointment here.