Stretching is a very important and essential part of every workout. Among the many benefits it has, stretching keeps your muscles healthy and safe from injuries. Skipping this important step repetitively will result in many negative consequences. First of all, it will increase your muscles tightness and leave you sore the next day after a workout, it will decrease your physical performance and put you at higher risks of injuries, alongside many undesirable results.
So when should you stretch exactly?
While many professionals and non-professionals stretch before a workout, there is no evidence that doing so before physical activity is helpful. Many studies have found that stretching before a workout can tire your muscles. Therefore, before exercising it is recommended to do some dynamic stretches which require some movement to warm up your muscles.
Stretching after exercise is more recommended. After a workout, your muscles are more flexible because of the increased circulation of blood due to the exercises effectuated. Stretching is a nice and healthy way to end a workout.
Why you should stretch?
Stretching has many benefits, these are the most important:
1. Stretching increases your flexibility
Flexibility is the ability to move your muscles in all the possible ways. This is important to decrease tension in your muscles, lengthen contracted and restrained muscles. A consistent post-workout stretching will give you the ability to do more exercises that require flexibility, things you were not able to make in the past. The muscles that you do not stretch remain restrained which limits their performance in a specific workout. Therefore, make sure that you stretch your legs very well to give them the needed flexibility for your next run.
2. Avoids injuries
The flexibility that stretching gives to your muscles, making them less prone to be stiff and tense. Stiff muscles lead to acute injuries, and your muscles will be tired and will feel overused.
3. Boosting your physical performance
This is the first aim of athletes behind stretching. All the benefits of stretching are related to the first one in this list; flexibility. Flexible muscles mean healthier muscles, and healthier muscles are the ones able to perform the highest levels of every exercise. This practice lets you maximize your range of motion and improves your strength.
4. Gives you energy
After a workout, you might feel tired, and all you want is to be home, fed, showered and in your bed. However, a 5-minutes stretching session has the ability to increase your energy levels, this is because when your body cools down, more hormones related to happiness and energy are released.
5. Tones your muscles
If one of the goals you have from being in the gym is to have defined muscles than you definitely need to do some stretching. After lifting weights or doing exercises that put a lot of pressure on your muscles, you need to give your muscles the ability to recover and be ready for the upcoming workout session. Good stretching exercises will give you more toned and strong muscles.