Over the past few years exercise and nutrition have become very popular topics. With the rise in obesity and several other health related issues, people have turned to the gym to avoid becoming a victim of an unhealthy lifestyle.

It's great seeing people take action even people that don't know exactly what to do, but they take action and hit the ground running. 

Those that get started have won half the battle against an unhealthy lifestyle. Those that do nothing, may have their hands full of medication in the future. 

Im sure you're ready for me to get to the point. 

I want you to think about the last time you stretched. Besides the stretching you do once you wake up in the morning. Im talking about stretching during exercise.

To be more specific, Im talking before and after exercise. Don't worry if you haven't, there's know disease for not stretching. Just a few stiff muscles and maybe some lower back aches. 

But there certainly are some benefits and reasons why you should be stretching.

So lets dive right in!

What is actually taking place when you stretch your muscles? Muscle stretching is the opposite of muscle contraction or stimulation. When a muscle stretches, the overlapping filaments decrease causing the sarcomeres to stretch, causing the muscle fibers to lengthen. This is why stretching muscle tissue is just as important as it is to strengthen it. Yes, i'm excited about knowing that also.

Benefits of why you should be stretching:

  • Increase flexibility
  • Improve posture
  • Increase flow of blood and nutrition
  • Release excess tension
  • It allows for your muscles to move through a full range of motion
  • Enhances your performance

How many of those did you know off the top of your head? If you knew all of them, you're more than likely just reading this to kill time.

But, there still lies, the misunderstanding on when and how to stretch.

Let's start with when. Not everyone stretches before exercise but if they do, it should be dynamic stretches. Dynamic stretches are when your actively warming up and stretching the specific muscle(s) you're getting ready to train. Ex) You swing one leg forward and back while standing next to the wall with one hand positioned on the wall to keep your balance. You're actively stretching your hamstring muscle. Perform each stretch 15-30 seconds.

The most well known way of stretching is static stretching. A static stretch is when you're lengthening a specific muscle without any movement. These are the best stretches to do after an exercise routine. Ex) While standing, you prop one of your feet on a stool. While keeping the leg on the stool straight, you lean forward and you will feel the stretch in your hamstring muscle. Hold each stretch 15-30 seconds.

Of course, the information above applies to whichever muscle(s) you intend on exercising. 

I hope that I was able to add value and give you more insight on the benefits of stretching. 

If you found this information beneficial, like and share with a friend. ;)