Importance of Stretching
Stretching is important for the body’s muscles during an exercise session. Even though you are not planning for a vigorous exercise, a few minutes of stretching should be an integral part of your routine. Stretching helps the muscle to stay flexible, strong, and motion in the joints. We need this flexibility for the motion of muscles, and only stretching can provide it. Without stretching, the muscles can become tight, or some times after a vigorous weight workout or full-body workout, the muscles can get sore. So, when the next time you try to call the muscles for physical activity, they have become short, weak, and unable to extend, the sole reason why you should keep stretching your body to keep the muscles in motion every day.
Studies have also suggested that so much stress on the muscle to perform when it can’t extend or has become weak can invite the risk of joint pain, strains, and muscle damages. The mechanism is easy to understand; stretching keeps the muscles long, lean and flexible, and when they are called for the physical activity, not much force is put on the muscle, and the exertion is reduced on the muscles. The focus is not that you have to stretch every muscle in the body but the main critical areas which are majorly involved in your workouts. Most importantly the parts that give you mobility are your lower extremities like the calves, thighs, hips, quadriceps, and other parts like shoulders, back, neck, etc.
Implementing stretching into your daily routine not only benefits the body but the mind too. Let’s understand some more benefits of the stretching:
Benefits of Stretching
- Increases Flexibility: Regular stretching can help to increase flexibility, which is important for our overall health. Flexibility helps in carrying out daily activities with ease and also
Flexibility tends to diminish with aging, but stretching can help to delay the reduced mobility and maintain it. The more we stretch, the more we set our muscles in motion, and the more flexible we become with simple tasks such as lifting boxes, bending to tie shoelaces, climbing stairs placing packages on to the top.
Flexibility is also said to be one of the components of fitness. It is said as an integral part of the exercise, and that’s why it is incorporated before starting the exercise.
- Promotes circulation: Stretching increases blood supply to muscles and joints. The blood flowing through the muscles brings nourishment to the muscles and also improves the blood circulation. Increased blood flow means increased nutrients carried by the blood to muscles and improves circulation throughout the entire body. The muscle nourishment helps in getting rid of waste byproducts and in the muscle tissue.
Stretching improves blood circulation, and this improved blood circulation can help muscle injury to recover faster.
- Stress relief: When we are tense, our muscles tend to become tense because when our body is responding to a change or trying to adjust, it releases some hormones that tighten up the muscles and also affect physical and emotional stress. When you are stressed, you put a lot of pressure on your mind along with other body parts like neck, shoulders, upper back, etc. A Lot of people hold onto stress, and it further tightens up the muscles. When we feel uneasy, our muscles tighten to defend the situation and make the muscle tense. So, the more you stretch, the more you relax your muscles and increase their range of motion. Stretching is one of the effective forms of stress management.
- Improves Posture: Most of the time, muscle pain comes from improper alignment. Muscle imbalance can tense the muscle and lead to poor posture. The workload can stress our necks and shoulders, and bad sitting habits can lead to back pain, etc. can weaken the muscle alignment and can cause pains or injuries. Stretching can help to improve muscle alignment and strengthens the muscles. Stretching can also help heal the already damaged alignment and improve your posture. Stretching comes for all the muscles, and strengthening and stretching specific muscles can reduce musculoskeletal pain and improve the posture.
- Calms the mind: Stretching is not just healthy for the muscles but the mind too. Stretching is a silent and mindfulness activity that can help to focus and give your mind a mental break. Stretching can be combined with meditation exercises to release tension and reduce the stressed muscles. With a proper diet, plenty of water and sound sleep, when combined with stretching, can also help in reducing the tension and reducing the headaches. Additionally, it also promotes the blood flow, which allows you to refresh and recharge. The refreshed mood can calm your mind and bring a more peaceful mindset. More blood flow means more nutrients, and more nutritional content means more mental energy, which helps to stay concentrated and focused throughout the day.
- More freedom to the motion: Stretching can help you increase the muscle motions. Stretching helps in keeping the muscles in movement. The more we stretch, the more flexibility we achieve and thus more range of motion to the body. Also, when we stretch the muscle to a certain limit, it gives us immediate gains. This immediate gain also increases the performance in physical activities. So, stretching before the exercise tends to prepare the muscles and give effective results.
- Prevents muscle ache, injury, and soreness: When we take good care of the muscles from an earlier stage, we prevent it from many risks and also heal it from existing injuries or aches. A regular stretching routine can help to reduce the muscle strain. The more we stretch the muscles, the more we prepare it for exercising movements and decrease the injury.
Stretching helps in aligning the muscles, helps in strengthening the muscles, and can prevent future aches or pains. Stretching prepares the muscles before physical activity and reduces the risk of injury because stretching increases the range of motion. Thus stretching from an earlier can reduce the risk of aches and injuries. Or, if there are any injuries, stretching can help to heal it with its improved blood flow. Improved blood flow also carries nutrients and helps to reduce the soreness in the muscles, if any.
Whether you are a hardcore exerciser or a lazy exerciser, stretching should be an integral part of your workout session. Regular stretching has various effects on the mind and body functions. But it is also important to understand the proper techniques of stretching that need to be incorporated in daily routines. Stretching 4-5 times a week can prove beneficial if done in the right ways. But remember occasional stretching or irregular stretching cannot maintain a consistent range of motion to muscles and give the benefits to the body. It’s always better to understand what exercises you do and then decide which muscle stretching you require. Also, if you have any injury, then never overwork as it can affect the muscles. Along with its physical benefits, stretching will also provide mental ease. So, don’t forget to take a break and recharge yourself and strengthen the body and mind with stretching techniques.