Why Stretching is So Important

If you're one of those people who thinks “I don't need it” or “I don't have time for it” when it comes to stretching, you may want to slow down and consider the importance of the practice. Many overlook stretching as a meaningful component to their fitness routine , but the truth is that it is an essential part of your workout. Stretching isn't just a way to loosen up your muscles before or after some tough exercise, it actually plays a role in several bodily functions, your overall health and a number of other areas as well. 


Speeds recovery

One of the biggest reasons that stretching is so important to your fitness routine is that it eases soreness and prevents your body from aches, pains and injury. Stretching increases your blood flow and circulation through your muscles to help them warm up before exercise, and then recover better after you're done. You need to stretch to allow your body to adapt to the motions you're performing and keep your joints, muscles and ligaments loose so they don't tear or become injured.


Flexibility

Its no secret that stretching improves your flexibility, but it can be hard to understand why this is essential to your health and being in shape. Good fitness means that you can perform a variety of different activities and motions without getting hurt. Improving flexibility also relates to a better range of motion which makes exercises easier to perform. When you stretch, your joints become more flexible, requiring less energy from your body to perform fitness activities. Stretching to improve range of motion also decreases the thickness of natural joint lubricant called synovial fluid. Healthy synovial fluid allows better nutrient exchange within the body as well as preventing joint degeneration.


Improved circulation

Improvement of circulation doesn't just allow speedy muscle recovery after workouts, it also improves nutrient transportation throughout the body. Stretching increases blood flow and circulation for sending oxygen and other important sources of nourishment to different areas of the body. This improved circulation allows greater tissue elasticity which directly translates into a healthier and more capable body for exercise and fitness routines.


Balance and posture

You can improve both your posture and your balance through stretching as well. Having increased flexibility allows your body to improve muscular balance so you are more aligned and feel more comfortable standing and sitting up straight. Performing stretches can help realign soft tissue structures due to gravity, which helps you maintain proper postural habits throughout the day. These are very important components of a healthy body because they relate to how we walk, sit and stand all day, everyday.


To benefit from all of these important reasons to include stretching in your fitness routine, you have to do it the right way. The proper way to execute a stretch is to move slowly into the position until you feel the first sensation of resistance and then hold it and breathe for 10 seconds. Adjust and modify stretches to your particular needs and depending on which exercise you perform.

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