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The Importance of Stretching

By on December 2, 2014
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Everyone knows that stretching is important. But that doesn’t mean that everyone is following through with it. You’ve been hearing the same thing over and over for a long time- that you should always stretch when working out, and if you don’t you could get a serious injury.

Even though it may not seem like it’s a big deal now, it will be in the long run. Not stretching can cause serious long term effects, but it can also cause what are known as trigger points. Trigger points happen when areas that suffer the most of your movement are under constant stress without any relief, causing sore spots. Common areas include your back, knees, neck, and hips. This can lead to problems with these areas, resulting in surgeries or limitations to your life.

Stretching can also increase your energy levels because it gets your circulation going. If you’re feeling tired or in a slump during your day, take a few minutes and stretch your body. Be sure to stretch any muscles you’ve been using that day, be it your legs or your arms or neck. This can increase your productivity in all areas of your life.

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When you’re working out, it’s necessary to make the effort to stretch because your body needs to cool itself down. Stretching out your muscles increases your range of motion, making it easier to gain strength or stamina. If you’re trying to tone up, this is a good bet. This also allows you to become more flexible, which can make any kind of workout more beneficial. Stretching also helps relieve the tension in your muscles so that they have time to rest and repair themselves. The better your muscles repair, the better you can increase your results in the gym. It also goes without saying that stretching is the key to beating those next-day sore muscles.

Here’s something you probably didn’t know: you don’t actually have to stretch before your workout. In fact, sometimes it can be worse to stretch before you work out because your body hasn’t warmed up yet, and you could cause muscle injury from stretching them when they’re still cold. As long as you’re doing a proper warm up, your body will be able to handle the workout just fine. But this doesn’t mean you can skip the cool down stretches! Cooling down is important because it’s your way of letting your body know that the workout is done and it’s time to rest. You can’t just jump off the treadmill and continue with your day. That’s how people develop knee problems and joint pain. Make sure you give your body a break. Don’t rush your stretches, either. Make each one last between 20 and 30 seconds.

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Stretching isn’t just necessary for the end of your workout. You should also be stretching any time you’ve been in the same position for a long period of time. Stretching at work is especially important because, especially if your job contains a lot of repetition, you are using the same muscles every day. If you sit at a desk all day, you’re hunched over all day and that’s a lot of time out of your life spent hunched over. This can cause your back to suffer a lot of pain, which can limit you the older you get.

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Lesley Cornelius

About Lesley Cornelius