Flexibility is one of the 5 components of physical fitness. Having good flexibility will have a positive effect on the other forms of exercise that you perform, including cardiovascular fitness and weight training.
What are the benefits of stretching?
Exercise in general is considered to be a good way of releasing stress and easing tension, and stretching is no exception to this. When we become tense or stressed our muscles tighten which can cause us to feel more uneasy, and performing some light stretching exercises helps to release that tension and ultimately makes us feel better. Stretching like other forms of exercise is thought to release endorphins, helping us to further feel better and more relaxed.
Improve your circulation
Stretching has been proved to increase blood circulation. Improved blood circulation means nutrients will be supplied to different parts of the body quicker, including the muscles. Improved circulation can help with muscle building, injury recovery and possibly even injury prevention. It can prevent or reduce muscle soreness and better removal of waste such as lactic acid from the body. Improved circulation can even result in us having higher energy levels as it allows more oxygen to be transferred to the muscles and around the body.
Improve motion of the joints and muscles
If you have a good range of motion then we can move better, it can also help us to maintain our balance which can also help us to prevent falls and injuries. Improved range of motion will also have an obvious effect on our sporting activities, running faster, jumping higher, reacting quicker and better recovery times.
Help to prevent lower back problems
Stretching and having good flexibility helps us to maintain good posture. Good posture is a good way to help keep lower back problems at bay. Stretching doesn’t just improve flexibility it can actually strengthen our muscles as well, further helping our bodies to stay strong and healthy.
As we age it becomes even more important to stretch, one of the effects of aging is that our muscles become shorter and tighter therefore limiting our movement and increasing the chance of injuries. Spending some time stretching really does make life easier and more comfortable, especially as we get older.
Stretching is a very natural thing, animals do it and we also do it unconsciously, and it also feels good. Help your body to stay active and healthy and dedicate a little extra time to performing some stretches a few times a week.
Just a word of warning! you can actually injury yourself while stretching, especially if your muscles are cold, because they are less flexible. Always make sure your muscles are warm before attempting to stretch them. Also don’t over stretch, you should feel discomfort from the stretch, but if that discomfort becomes a more serious pain, stop because you may be risking injury.