Why Stretching is Essential Before & After a Workout (+free routine)

Doing before workout stretches are essential as most people spend a good deal of time sitting down in the day. This makes your muscles more tight, making them more vulnerable to injury. Stretching helps loosen up the muscles and prepare your body for a workout.

Or, as Harvard puts it, “Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints. Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight. Then, when you call on the muscles for activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way. That puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage

Benefits of Stretching Include: 

  • Increases your range of motion
  • Increases flexibility
  • Improves performance in physical activities
  • Increases blood flow to your muscles (shortening recovery time)
  • Relieves stress 
  • Improves posture
  • Helps to treat and prevent back pain

Pre-Workout

Doing before workout stretches are essential as most people spend a good deal of time sitting down in the day. This makes your muscles more tight, making them more vulnerable to injury. Stretching helps loosen up the muscles and prepare your body for a workout.

Before a workout you want to do dynamic stretches. These are active movements which involve full range of motion, increasing muscle temperature and reducing stiffness. These stretches help improve your control over your muscles during a workout, as well as your agility and speed.

Post-Workout

The after workout stretches are also important as they help to move lactic acid out of your muscles which decreases soreness and helps blood flow. This causes the muscles to regain their shape and improves performances the next time you exercise.

Stretches for post workout are called static stretches, These are held for a period of time, usually ten seconds to a minute. These help the body gradually cool down and aid the muscles in returning to a relaxed state, increasing flexibility and decreasing risk of injury.

Key Point:

Although stretching before a workout is important, don’t do the stretches ‘cold’. Meaning, don’t go straight from sitting down to stretching because doing stretches right after your body has been inactive can cause harm to the muscles.

Just 5 to 10 minutes of basic exercise, even walking to the gym, will warm up your muscles preparing them for the stretches. This gets the blood flowing through the body, doing stretches right after your body has been inactive can cause harm.

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