The Importance of Why You Should Be Stretching

The Importance of Why You Should Be Stretching

Everyone knows about the importance of stretching. What everyone does not know is why it is important. Despite seeming like an easy process, stretching at the correct times can have a huge impact on your overall health. 

Yes, stretching does help athletes in staying loose and avoiding injuries, but it can also bring betterment to other’s lives in possibly unknown ways.

Not just beneficial for only athletes

Athletes such as runners are already familiar with the benefits of stretching, but did you know that it is also good for those who suffer from common conditions like depression and diabetes?

Stretching enhances blood flow, surges oxygen levels and helps with the delivery of nutrients to muscles.  It even gets rid of metabolic waste such as carbon dioxide, ammonia and uric acid from your body.

Your tendon and muscles are not everything that you should stretch

Before stepping onto the treadmill, it’s essential for you to stretch your calves, hamstring and quads – but do remember your IT band. The iliotibial or IT band starts from your hip and goes down all the way to below your knee, where it ends.

This fibrous, thick tissue helps with the stability of your knee joint, and it’s important that it stays loose. Not stretching the IT band and consistent overuse can result in inflammation, pain and a condition known as IT band syndrome.

Stretching tendons over 4% their original length can lead to irreversible damage.

Our muscle fiber is highly flexible. It may come as a surprise that muscles can stretch up to more than double their original length. However, tendons aren’t as pliable. In fact, stretching tendons beyond 4 percent their actual length causes irreversible damage.

Mostly, injuries happen when tendons are stretched rapidly or in an unexpected direction. This is why they should be stretched consistently and slowly.

Warming up before is important

It is assumed by many that stretching is best before exercising – but warming up first is better. Jogging slowly or spending some time on an exercise machine can help boost blood flow, and you can expect your stretch to be more fruitful this way. 

Building that additional time into your exercise routine is important.  If you are planning a 20-minute treadmill session, devote 35-40 minutes in total. Use the first 5 or so minutes warming up, 5-10 to stretch, and the remainder on the treadmill.

Stretching before a run is not as important as stretching after one

How often have you sunk straight into a chair after a vigorous workout? Many of us are guilty of this, but you should keep in mind that the end of a work-out doesn’t mean you’re anywhere near finished.

Remember, a good post-workout stretch is even more important than a good pre-workout stretch. Stretching already loose muscles from the workout will help with a faster recovery and the prevention of injuries.

Stretching can be one of the best things to do as someone who exercises. It provides an easy way to avoid injuries, strengthen muscles and improve performance. The next time you’re on the track, remember the benefits of stretching to your workout routine as well as your health.