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What Makes Stretching So Beneficial For Our Health?

Be honest:

Do you stretch your muscles? If not, why?

Like most people, you probably don’t see much benefit in spending your time in various poses, stretching your muscles, and enduring discomfort.

While the above is perfectly reasonable, stretching is good for us, and we should do it regularly, no matter how active we are and what fitness goals we want to achieve.

Let’s see why that is.

What Makes Stretching So Beneficial For Our Health?

  1. Improved Range of Motion

One of the most notable benefits of stretching is that the activity improves our range of motion, making it easier to perform various movements safely. For example, stretching your adductors (inner thigh muscles) is an excellent way to improve your squat depth.

  1. Possibly Lower Risk of Injuries

Another benefit of stretching is the reduced risk of muscle-related injuries. As we stretch our muscles, we improve their lengthening ability, making them more resistant to pulls or tears. Such injuries often occur because a muscle is pushed beyond its natural ability to lengthen.

  1. Improved Blood Flow and Recovery

The third benefit of stretching our muscles is the improved blood flow to the area. According to research, stretching a muscle promotes blood flow, which can be beneficial for post-workout recovery and the prevention of delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). More blood entering our muscles allows more oxygen and nutrients to travel to the site, promoting repair.

  1. It Brings About a Sense of Relaxation

The fourth benefit of stretching is that it helps you relax, loosen up, and cool down after an intense workout. Stretching is peaceful, and you can combine it with meditation. The result would be a profoundly fulfilling and beneficial activity that improves your flexibility, helps you relax, and clears your mind.

  1. It Can Improve Your Posture

Poor posture is common today, especially given the sheer number of people working a desk job. Aside from looking bad, poor posture causes significant tension in the upper back and neck, often leading to chronic pain that can range from mild to debilitating.

Folks with such pain often spend countless hours and tons of money on physical therapy and massages to improve their position and achieve temporary relief. Luckily, stretching can also improve your posture and help you achieve proper alignment, reducing the risk of such issues now and in the future.

How to Start Stretching More Frequently

As discussed above, static stretching brings about relaxation and might promote recovery, which is why we recommend doing it after training. Finish your workout and take a few minutes to stretch the muscles you’ve trained. You can also do static stretching in the morning as you wake up or before going to bed. Both options work great and will gradually improve your flexibility.

You can do some static stretching before training if you feel particular tightness in one area, but keep in mind that doing so might impair your power output temporarily. In such cases, it would be better to do dynamic stretches, which bring two benefits:

  • They help you warm-up
  • They stretch your muscles without leading to impaired performance

An example of dynamic stretches are leg swings (back-forth and side to side). You can perform these before lower body training to open up your hips.