What Is the Importance of Stretching – Why You Should Do It After Every Workout.
Do you know what is the importance of stretching and why you should take the time to stretch out properly after each of your workouts or are you just doing a couple of halfhearted chest stretches and reach for your toes a few times before you rush off to the shower?
You might want to change your immediate post-workout routine as taking that small amount of extra time to properly stretch out all of the muscles that you have just trained so hard, is not only good for them but is shown to be great for your mind too!
When you’ve had a great training session and have worked your body hard probably the last thing you want to do is spend another fifteen minutes doing some flexibility work. But did you realise that if you do it can not only help you immensely with your recovery but also your future gains too.
So lets look at what is the importance of stretching and why should you be including it after every workout.
Whenever you participate in a type resistance training the muscles that you have been working out will contract and shorten. Stretching after your workout will help return these muscles to their original length.
When training your body by lifting weights you get microscopic tears in the fibres of your muscles. The continual process of these minute tears and the body recovering increases the size and number of the fibres, which results in your muscles getting bigger and stronger.
The body is pretty resourceful and automatically directs protein to these areas. Stretching helps improve the body’s circulation therefore increasing the blood flow and along with it those valuable nutrients to reach the right areas to aid in their recovery.
(This is also the reason why you need to make sure you have a post-workout meal within an hour of finishing your workout to give your body the right fuel to do its job.)
Also each of your muscles is encased in connective tissue called fascia which is responsible for holding it in the right place. You need to regularly stretch this so that your muscles can constantly continue to grow to their full potential.
Taking the time to do some stretching can greatly improve your range of movement and general posture. This means you will find it easier to do everyday tasks as well as the exercises in your workouts. Hey, you will also be able to get your butt down lower when you do those squats to get the maximum amount of benefit for your booty! 🙂
When you stretch it is also a great time to clear and calm your mind and give it and your body a chance to relax, recover and recharge for the day ahead.
But several studies have shown that stretching has a lot more benefits for your mind.
“Your brain benefits from a stretch as much as your muscles do, according to some recent studies. Stretching can help your memory, reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and may even help you think more clearly. You may even be able to stretch yourself happy.”
So if you now are ready to do a stretching routine after your workout but haven’t got a clue where to start here are a couple of stretching routines for you to try.
They both have a PDF attached which you can download and print off if you want to.
Remember to slowly ease into the stretch and hold for 20-40 seconds then release. I like to take a deep breath and then as I breathe out visualize each of the muscles I’m concentrating on relaxing. This is actually great for just clearing my mind of any random thoughts too!
So as you can see the benefits of stretching are well worth taking that extra time to include it after your workouts. It will help alleviate both physical and mental tension and even improve your memory. Stretching can increase your range of motion as well as improving your future performance. It will also reduce your risk of injury both whilst exercising and in everyday life and improve your posture.
I hope you enjoyed this post and if you needed some new stretches found the routines above useful. If you have any comments or questions then please do leave them below…
Happy Training! 🙂
The above stretching workout pictures and their attached PDF’s are courtesy of The DAREBEE Fitness Resource – which is a registered non-profit organisation.