Why Stretching Should Be Part Of Your Workout Routine

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stretching before workout

Believe it or not, the validity of adding stretching to a workout routine is a hotly debated subject. Some people believe that stretching only has a placebo effect, while others claim stretching has helped them through years of workouts. Opinions aside, many benefits of stretching have been scientifically proven.

So, to help you decide whether or not you want to add stretching to your workout routine, check out these six benefits of stretching.

Stretching For Greater Flexibility

Many workout routines have a direct, negative impact on your flexibility. From runners to weightlifters, the muscles built can restrict movement and impede your overall flexibility, which can result in pain and stiffness. However, when you include a regular stretching routine to your workouts, you can enjoy a greater range of motion. Even on those who have undergone previous injuries can significantly improve their flexibility with static stretching, according to researchers.

Prevent Injuries Due To Exercising

When human error is ruled out, stretching can help prevent injuries which affect the muscles and tendons, according to researchers. Stretching causes the muscles and tendons to move differently than they normally would during your workouts, helping to prevent repetition injuries and allow you to build strength differently than your workout will do.

Improve Your Posture For Better Workouts

Having the correct posture is important to maximize your workout performance and help prevent injuries. Weightlifters, in particular, should work on their posture as incorrect posture can seriously endanger them during a workout.  

Stretching can help improve your posture in a number of ways. Firstly, it addresses tight muscles which can impede your ability to achieve the correct posture for your workout. Adding a short stretching routine can help release these tight muscles. Stretching also allows you to build up auxiliary muscles which may be neglected by your chosen workout. Also, postural-induced pain can also be corrected with stretching. Once this pain has been alleviated, you will be better able to engage in your workouts.

Balance And Coordination is Improved By Stretching

Tight muscles leave people stiff, which can seriously impede their balance and coordination. Regular workout routines leave tendons and muscles tight, so adding a stretching routine before and after a workout is key to improving your overall coordination and help maintain your sense of balance.

This improvement in balance and coordination is particularly important for older adults, as many suffer from poor balance and coordination. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of four senior adults age 65 and older are going to fall in each year. One out of five of these falls will cause serious injury.

Yet, researchers have found that adding stretching to the regular routine of senior adults can improve their balance and flexibility. So, no matter your age, you should be adding stretching to your workouts as it can help you avoid painful balance and coordination-induced injuries.

Improve Circulation For Better Performance

A recent study has shown that static stretching can promote improved blood flow, which means more oxygen will reach the muscles. Endurance athletes, in particular, should be interested in adding stretching to their workouts for improved circulation, as better and faster circulation can add to their overall VO2 max. With an improved VO2 max, endurance athletes will be able to push themselves harder and further than they were able to previously.

You will want to engage in a variety of static stretches to improve your circulation and not just focus on one area of the body. That way you can enjoy the benefits of improved circulation throughout your entire body.

Stretching Can Release Built-Up Lactic Acid

During a workout, the muscles release lactic acid. However, the lactic acid does not quickly disperse and can build up in your muscles, and buildup of lactic acid in the muscles can trigger a painful muscle cramp. This cramping can range from an inconvenient side stitch to a debilitating charley horse. Dealing with cramps mid-workout can ruin your workout as it leaves you waiting for the cramp to interrupt you painfully.

By adding a short stretching session before and after your workout, you can help speed up the release of lactic acid buildup in your muscles. For the ability to avoid the discomfort of muscle cramps during your workout, stretching seems like a small price to pay.

Stretching does not need to take up a large amount of your workout time, which is part of why people resist stretching. In fact, you can spend just 10-15 minutes on stretching and enjoy the many benefits of stretching. So, with six scientifically-backed reasons to add stretching to your workout routine, hopefully you are convinced that stretching really will help you and you are ready to find the right stretching routine to add to your pre- and post-workout.

Kevin Jones is a freelance writer, researcher and fitness instructor/consultant. He has helped hundreds of people find ways to become more fit and healthy through a balanced life focusing on an individualized approach to their nutrition and fitness. In addition, Kevin has written extensively in the fitness and health industries, writing for companies such as NordicTrack & other influential health and wellness brands.

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