Despite the important role that stretching plays in exercise, many people often skip over it because they don’t fully understand the benefits of stretching before working out. It’s a great way to prepare your body for more rigorous exercise, meaning you’ll perform better and reduce the risk of feeling sore afterward. It may be an easy step to skip, but it’s just as easy a step to perform, so let’s look further into why everyone should be stretching before exercising.
Get Warmed Up
Much like how machinery needs a little bit of time to get going and warm up before it can operate at its best, so too does your body. Suddenly going from a completely relaxed and static state to intense and rigorous motion can be very jarring to your body because it doesn’t have time to adjust and compensate. By starting off with stretches, you allow your body to prepare itself and avoid injuries. A sudden increase in intense stress on your muscles can be damaging if you stretch them while they’re still stiff and tight. Injured muscles may not be able to support your joints, which will in turn lead to joint injuries and pain down the line.
How It Improves You
The benefits of stretching before working out have immediate and long-term effects. As you stretch, your blood flow increases and your heart starts pumping a little bit faster. Your muscles begin to loosen up, and they’ll be more accepting of the strenuous stretching they’ll undergo during your workout routine. The long-term benefits include improving your flexibility and posture, which is good for avoiding chronic pain in your back. Furthermore, as you begin to age, stretching can preserve your motor functions and keep you autonomous.
If you find yourself always busy, taking a moment to do some stretching is a therapeutic way to relieve some stress and calm your mind, giving you a moment to breathe.
Try Weighted Stretching
If you need help making your stretches more effective but you don’t have a partner, you can use weights such as a home dumbbell set to improve your stretches. If your muscles feel especially stiff, pushing them toward a full range of motion and getting stretched out can be difficult. Weights will be ideal for pushing your body a little bit harder by adding some more resistance.