What Stretching Does for Your Workout
Stretching is often overlooked as an old P.E. trick to help kill time. Many see the exercises as a quick solution to unexpected muscle tightness or a simple combatant to sitting down for too long. It is true that stretching helps loosen the muscles and promotes greater blood flow, but it is most effective when used proactively as opposed to reacting to surprise injuries.
There is a reason stretching has become a more developed phenomenon in recent years. Whether it be in Pilates and yoga classes or simple exercises at home, the benefits are extensive. Perhaps the most obvious result is increased flexibility. Many people who forget (or actively ignore) stretching tend to find themselves more strained and begin having trouble working the muscles they’ve worked so hard to develop. Flexibility allows for increased movement throughout the body. This looseness promotes greater blood flow and an ability to workout longer, more effectively.
As some get older, the focus turns beyond the gym. Working out can be difficult at older ages and the desire is no longer about looks, but overall health. Stretching is vital as the mentioned blood flow continues for hours after the exercise. This improved circulation helps organs function more effectively. In addition, stretching helps relieve stress. Joint health requires a proactive approach earlier in life and stretching aids in that effort. Whether it is hips or knees, the weight placed on joints is better distributed with greater flexibility.
Finding the Mindset
Working out often creates a mindset of adding on or building up. Taking a step back to focus on stretching allows the body to focus on negating some of the negatives of a high-stress workout. Perhaps the most important is decreasing the risk of injury. The exercises help reduce overall soreness and provide more movement that works against the strain of a regular workout. Improved nutrient distribution helps defend against injuries, but it also works on a more internal level. Stretching can help reduce cholesterol and prevent more serious injuries.
Pilates and yoga classes offer a strong emphasis on stretching given the numerous health benefits. However, an organized session is not always necessary. Maintaining steady stretching routines to improve flexibility at home will result in improved blood flow and better ability to avoid injuries. Workouts can go longer and become more effective as the muscles feel less of a negative strain and continue to build in the right way.