Stretching is the deliberate lengthening of muscles in order to increase muscle flexibility and joint range of motion. Stretching activities are an important part of any exercise or rehabilitation program. They help warm the body up prior to activity thus decreasing the risk of injury as well as muscle soreness.
As we age, our muscles tighten and range of motion in the joints can be minimized. This can put a damper on active lifestyles and even hinder day-to-day, normal motions. Tasks that used to be simple, now become extremely difficult. A regular stretching program can help lengthen your muscles and make daily living activities easier.
Everyone can learn to stretch, regardless of age or flexibility. Stretching should be a part of our daily routine, whether you exercise or not. There are simple stretches you can do while watching on the computer, watching TV or getting ready for bed. If you are doing strength training exercises, you can stretch in between sets. It saves time from stretching at the end of the workout!
It does not have to involve a huge time commitment, but stretching can end up giving you huge results! Here are just a few of the benefits you can expect from a regular stretching program:
Reduced muscle tension, aches and pains
Increased range of movement in the joints
Enhanced muscular coordination
Increased circulation of the blood to various parts of the body
Increased energy levels (resulting from increased circulation)
Improves posture, decreases risk of injury, stress relief etc.
Stretching is important for people of all ages! One of the greatest benefits of stretching is that you’re able to increase your range of motion, which means your limbs and joints can move further before an injury occurs. Post-exercise stretching can also aid in workout recovery, decrease muscle soreness, and ensure that your muscles and tendons are in good working order. The more conditioned your muscles and tendons are, the better they can handle the rigors of sport and exercise, and the less likely that they’ll become injured.
Stretching comes naturally to all of us. You might notice that if you have been sitting in a particular position for a long time, you stretch unconsciously. It feels good! In addition to that good feeling, a consistent stretching program will produce large gains in flexibility and joint movement. Be kind to your muscles and they will be kind to you!