Although the benefits of stretching are well versed, I would like to reiterate them here. As a tremendous number of people do not understand the results that can be gained from a well structured stretching program. With this lack of knowledge it breeds contempt and a lack of motivation towards warming up and stretching. I often find that stretching is often overlooked and not budgeted into the workout session. To the detriment of the individuals and their progress.

When done properly, stretching can do more than just increase flexibility. The benefits of stretching include:

The Benefits of Stretching

  • Increased joint range of movement
  • Improves posture
  • Helps to reduce the risk of injury by making your muscles, ligaments, tendons and fascia more elastic
  • Dynamic stretches prepares you for exercise
  • Can lessen the effects of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)
  • reduced muscular tension
  • Increases blood flow
  • increased suppleness due to stimulation of the production of chemicals which lubricate connective tissues
  • Releases endorphins
  • Can reduce stress
  • Can decrease joint stiffness and chronic pain
  • Creates better lines in Martial Arts
  • Enhances physical fitness
  • Enhances the ability to learn and perform skilled movements
  • Increases mental and physical relaxation
  • Enhances development of body awareness
  • Reduces severity of painful menstruation (dysmenorrhea) in females

Unfortunately, even those who stretch do not always stretch properly and hence do not reap some or all of these benefits. Some of the most common mistakes made when stretching are:

  • Improper warm-up
  • Inadequate rest between workouts
  • Overstretching
  • Performing the wrong exercises
  • Performing exercises in the wrong (or sub-optimal) sequence

In my next article I will run through wha warming up is and what is involved.

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