The Importance Of Stretching
Many people live by the statement "Why stretch? It's just another thing to fit in to my already busy schedule, I never stretch and I seem to be fine."
While we think that everyone is aware of the importance of warming up and cooling down, it can often be rushed, incorrectly done or sometime scrapped all together. A quick hamstring stretch and cross-the-body arm stretch doesn’t cut the mustard, and this is just the first instance in which stretching and flexibility gets overlooked.
More important is the real lack of flexibility and stretch work actually incorporated into people’s exercise plans. So, whether it’s Yoga or Pilates class once or twice a week, or a couple carefully selected moves added to the end of each and every workout, we promise you’ll feel the benefit.
Stretching is overlooked for many reasons – but it’s important to think of it as an important addition, not an unnecessary extra.
For example, you’ve just done an arm session, feels good right? But that feeling won’t last long, the blood and lactic acid will start to leave your arms and if you don’t stretch your arms will stay in a semi-contracted state. This in turn, very slightly, decreases the range of motion in your biceps and triceps. Now multiply this by 100 arm workouts and imagine how much range of motion you lose?
Once you were able to scratch your middle back; now you have to rub yourself against a corner of a wall. Sound familiar? This isn't because you've gained muscle, it's because you lost your flexibility.
Or, you’ve just started a weight loss plan; you are being really good, sticking to a healthy diet and incorporating exercise. Perhaps you’ve started running, doing classes and visiting the gym, with a rest day or two thrown in each week – no time to include a yoga class or similar as you don’t want to lose a gym session.
But by neglecting stretching and flexibility work, thus repeatedly using a muscle to perform an activity without returning it to its pre-exercise length, it is possible to develop muscle imbalances and incorrect movement patterns.
This in turn could lead to overuse injuries which could put a halt to your exercise altogether while you recover. So don’t neglect your stretching exercise.
So when it comes to stretching the proof is in the pudding, just watch your pudding intake however.