Since I’ve been running more lately to get ready for the Race 2 Break 5k, I’ve realized how important it is and how good it feels to stretch before and after my workout. I have always been told to do so, but I never took it seriously.
After researching the benefits that one gets from a good stretch, I feel it is necessary to include in my workout routine. These are the reasons for stretching that Justin Williamson wrote about in his article, “Why is Stretching so Important”:
- It improves muscle development
- If you are working on building muscle, then stretching will help muscles become full and long, rather than stunted and short.
- It increases range of motion
- Range of motion and flexibility is a reason why many athletes stretch in the first place. Increased flexibility will help you to perform more efficiently in a variety of activities.
- It reduces injury
- Stretching will gradually elongate muscles, reducing the risk of pulling or tearing a muscle if you slip or trip.
- It warms you up
- Blood flow is better when muscles are warmed up, and this will provide more oxygen and nutrients to keep you going during exercise.
- It improves posture
- Stretching the back and alleviating pain will improve posture, and it is commonly part of yoga and Pilates, for that reason.
I spoke to CRI’s Fitness Program Director Greg Stephenson, and he explained to me the two most popular types of stretching.
- Static stretching – This type of stretching is done while the body is at rest. You should stretch your larger muscles to a point of mild discomfort for about 20-30 seconds, 3-4 times. This kind of stretching is good to do before and after an endurance type of event; otherwise, it is recommended to do static stretching at the end of your workout because it typically reduces the amount of force your body can exert for the next 15 minutes.
- Dynamic stretching – This involves controlled movement through full range of motion. It resembles what your body would be doing during activities or workouts, for example, doing high kicks or swinging your arms in circles. You are targeting a specific joint and increasing blood flow and elasticity to those surrounding muscles.
Stretching is a part of all workouts that should not be overlooked any longer! So, next time you are working out at the RAC, get a good stretch in and enjoy all of the benefits that come with it!
See you at the RAC!