If you are anything like me after a workout, I can be one of two personalities:
1) I’m skipping cool down and stretch session- Get me out of here ASAP I want to eat
2) I’m never moving from this stretch position. It feels so good, my body worked hard for this and it feels A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!
So what is the importance of stretching? Is it so bad if I skip my stretch session at the end of a heavy workout? What are the benefits to my body if I do stretch.
From the research that I conducted, I have come to these conclusions:
1. Stretching is super important, but does not have to be conducted after a workout when your muscles are tired and hungry! Although stretching should be part of a regular daily routine regardless if you exercise or not, you will benefit from the stretch whenever it happens. So even if you stretch before bed, whilst watching TV, in between exercise sets etc your body will love you for it!
2. Post-exercise stretching may aid in workout recover, decrease muscle soreness and ensure that you muscles are in good working order. Let’s face it, the better condition of your muscles, the better they can handle the impact of sport and exercise which may mean less injuries- good to know!
3. Stretching does not need to be time consuming, but it does provide long-term results. Stretching daily, allows your joints to continue using their full range of motion, which is sometimes minimised as we grow older. By using and stretching, we improve our flexibility and agility, which may improve overall performance.
4. A stretching program or session does not necessarily have to be thought about as an addition to your daily (hectic) schedule. Stretching comes naturally to all of us. Ever noticed that if you have been sitting in a particular position for a long time, you stretch subconsciously. It’s because it feels good, chances are you are already taking part in some form of stretch each and every day.
So what are some of the benefits from a regular stretching program:
• Reduced muscle tension
• 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)
So I guess, the answer is simple. Yes, stretching is important but doesn’t need to be performed at the end of a workout. Other than providing many healthy benefits to our muscles and joints, it just feels good. Plain and simple. The moral of this story is to reward our muscles for being so helpful during the day or during our workout and they too will reward us with a life-time of movement!
What’s your favourite stretch?