Running on a treadmill or lifting weights may be important to your fitness regime but are you aware that incorporating stretching to your routine is essential for muscle growth? If you’re anything like me, you probably neglect this aspect more than you should but after thoroughly researching the issue there our real benefits in including stretching to your daily workout session.
Why you may ask? Well just consider the fact that the majority of daily tasks require you to stretch (maybe not strenuously) however, a regular stretching program can help lengthen your muscles and make daily living activities easier.
So next time you’re reaching for an item off a shelf, it will all aid your training regime!
Is stretching for everyone? 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. More, like any sports athlete will advise 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. Surely this is a benefit in itself, but if you need some convincing here are some further reasons to stretch:
For Your Body
- Stretching will help improve your body’s flexibility and increase your range of motion.
- Assists in correct posture by lengthening tight muscles that pull areas of the body away from their intended position
- Potential to decrease injury by preparing muscles for work before activity
- Increases blood and nutrient supply to muscles, thereby possibly reducing muscle soreness and tiredness.
For Your Mind
- Even a short amount of time (10-15 minutes) of stretching can calm the mind, provide a mental break, and give your body a chance to recharge
- Popular classes like yoga or pilates offer you a chance to spend an hour releasing tension physically and mentally
Focus on the muscles that need your assistance
Instead of trying to stretch your whole body, focus on a key area of the body after each specific session. Spend longer on each stretch and include more stretches for each area. If you are aware of muscles that are tight, then focus on those ones specifically.
Stretching Exercise: Hamstring Stretch
There are two primary ways to do the seated hamstring stretch (1) split your legs apart or (2) you can bend one leg and keep the other extended straight in front of you. Both stretches are a great way to stretch your hamstrings, which are the muscles on the back of your thigh that can cause low back discomfort if they are too tight.
Stretching Exercise: Calf Stretch
The standing version is pushing against a wall, but you can also do this exercise simply by pushing against the ground.
Stretching Exercise: Shoulder Stretch
This stretch engages your shoulder muscles and is easy to execute. This is a stretch you should perform as you work out. Simply press while pulling your opposite elbow towards your opposite shoulder
So good luck and stay dedicated and if you are struggling to incorporate stretches then it may be a good idea to consider undertaking yoga or pilates. Both these workouts will get your body in rhythm with stretching and free up your movement.