The importance of stretching

Sometimes, stretching doesn’t get enough credit, especially when compared to other, more “challenging” exercises. But who says stretching isn’t challenging or worthwhile? There are plenty of reasons you should add stretching to your fitness regimen. 

1.    Increased Flexibility
One of the most well-known benefits of stretching is increased flexibility.  It’s true though, that stretching leads to a greater range of motion, which can be helpful for athletes of all types. This is especially important for key joints and body parts like your hips, knees and shoulders. 

2. Lowers Your Chances of Injury 
Another benefit that all athletes can appreciate is that stretching lowers your chances of injury. When your muscles aren’t properly stretched, and you just immediately jump into your workout, you can tear or strain a muscle, which can negative impacts for weeks or even months. 

3. Lowers Stress
Stretching can clear your mind, ease tension and give you a chance to pause and reflect. You don’t have to go to a yoga class to get this benefit, though, you can see these perks just by stretching for as few as 15 minutes per day. 

4. Decreases Daily Aches and Pains
If you have just general aches and pains throughout your day (and, come on, we all have them, so don’t kid yourself). You know the kinds of aches and pains we’re talking about — a sore back from sitting at your desk all day, tight shoulders from anxiety, or a headache from staring at a screen. None of these aches and pains are necessarily worrisome, but we’d all be happier without them and stretching can help.

5. Better Overall Performance

Stretching can help improve your overall athletic performance. Stretching improves your agility, your reacg, your speed, your blood flow and your oxygen delivery. It all comes together to make you a better overall athlete. 

There are a few easy ways to get started stretching. Like we noted, you don’t necessarily have to join a yoga class to feel the effects. Instead, you can start at home with a 15 to 30-minute stretching session. Easy stretches to start with include hamstring stretches, shoulder rotations and basic yoga pose like the pigeon stretch. Just keep in mind — stretching is a slow process and it can take weeks to months to see results. 

Want to kick start your fitness goals? Get a free 7 day trial at the world-class Melbourne Sports Centres MSAC.