Some of us perceive stretching as a bonus and not a necessity. Oftentimes, taking the time to stretch before a workout looks like a few wake up squats or shaking our legs out before going on a run to ask our muscles “hey, you ready to go?”
It is time that stretching moves up on the ladder of our health and fitness. We tend to disassociate stretching from the physical exercise that we do as if we understand working out to be more beneficial and even necessary for our bodies.
The acts of working out and stretching are not distinct behaviors. In fact, they crave proximity in a way that we often ignore. The easiest way to understand the importance of both stretching and working out as a unit is to do just that - practice them together!
Stretching both before and after you workout can do wonders for your body. If this is not something that you have prioritized in the past, it may feel burdensome or even pointless in the beginning, however, adding just 10 - 15 extra minutes to your regimen a week to squeeze in 5 - 7 minutes of stretching pre- and post workout will be a game changer for your mind and body.
Check out these 5 benefits to stretching before and after you knock out your daily workout.
- Increased Mobility and Flexibility
It is commonly known that stretching frequently will increase your flexibility and mobility. Doing so both before and after your workout will help to directly combat any tightness, soreness, or restricted movement that otherwise would stem from your workout. The stretching doesn’t have to be intense! Your muscles crave a little TLC after you push them to their limits!
- Improved Blood and Oxygen Circulation
Stretching both before and after you workout will help to improve your body’s blood circulation, in addition to increasing the amount of oxygen that your muscles receive. Increased blood and oxygen circulation before you workout will ensure that you muscles will fully elongate, in turn preventing injury throughout your movement. Increased circulation after a workout works similarly, permitting your body to properly heal from the movements your muscles endured and actively reduces muscle soreness.
- Stress Relief
Stretching before and after you workout is an amazing way to reduce stress on the body. While stress is an emotion, it can be felt in very physical ways. If you are someone who experiences stress regularly, chances are that your muscles are frequently in a tense state. Take a moment before you hop into a workout and once you are finished to stretch out your neck, shoulders, and back (areas that easily hold stress).
- Enhances Muscle Coordination
If you are frequent to functional training, stretching regularly can enhance your athletic performance in many ways! Not only does stretching consistently before and after you workout prepare your muscles for the next day of training, but it enhances muscle coordination, a necessity when it comes to complex, functional exercises!
- Reduces Lactic Acid Build Up
While you may be familiar with muscle soreness and fatigue, the term ‘lactic acid’ may be foreign to you. Lactic acid build up is the reason our muscles feel tight and sore to the touch the day after an intense workout. Lactic acid can be heavily reduced, and even eliminated, through stretching. Be sure to deeply and immediately stretch out the muscle groups that were most heavily targeted in your workout each and every day.