The Benefits of Stretching

The components of fitness include muscular strength, cardiovascular endurance and flexibility. Most individuals who work out on a regular schedule base their exercise program around resistance training for the muscles and running or biking for cardiovascular fitness. If you need some ideas on designing a workout, visit Now what about flexibility? Well, for that, you have to stretch!

Stretching does not require as much effort or energy as resistance or cardio training. However, it is often ignored by many fitness enthusiasts who regard the act of stretching as unimportant or a waste of time. Nothing could be further from the truth, as the benefits of stretching are numerous.

As we age, our muscles naturally tighten and the range of motion your joints are capable of extending becomes minimized. As a result, you have a greater likelihood of being injured while exercising or participating in sports. Such injuries can even occur while you're just going about simple daily activities. When your muscles are tight, muscular pulls and strains are a very real possibility.

Even if you aren't at an age where you need to worry or even think much about muscle tightening, resistance training has a way of making the muscles tighter than normal. For this reason, it's important for anyone who weight trains on a regular basis to engage in daily stretching exercises. Stretching balances out the muscular tightness brought on by sets of heavy lifting.

Here's another stretching benefit that anyone who works out regularly can appreciate: enhanced recuperation. Stretching promotes the circulation of blood into muscles which helps alleviate muscle soreness and can play a role in speeding the recovery process. Of course, treating yourself to a post-workout protein shake is also important for muscle rebuilding.

In addition to helping with soreness, regular stretching can increase your range of motion. More movement in the joints and tendons provides you with more freedom of movement while reducing the risk of injury that can occur with a restricted range of motion. Besides, the more your limbs can move, the more strength and size developing benefits you can realize from pounding out all those reps and sets.

Before beginning your flexibility program, let's take a look at the different types of stretching that you can perform.

Dynamic Stretching, as the name implies, involves moving parts of your body in a way that mimics the exercise about to be performed. If you were going to do the bench press, you'd lay on a bench or the floor, pumping your arms like you're doing imaginary presses, gradually increasing your reach and speed of movement. You might even use the actual equipment, pressing the bar with very little or no added weight. The gradual warm-up increases flexibility of your joints, tendons and muscles.

Static Stretching involves gradually pushing against a joint, bending it back to the furthest point, and holding it there. You've seen runners 'pushing the wall' to loosen their calf muscles, knees straight, feet flat on the ground. They loosen up their hamstrings by sitting heels together as they push their knees gradually lower to the ground. There are no repetitions. You're increasing flexibility by holding the stretched position for a certain amount of time.

PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) is a combination of isometric stretching and passive stretching. The PNF Stretching technique involves passively stretching a muscle group, then using isometric tension by resisting against a partner while engaged in the stretch. By the time you revert back to the passive stretch, the flexibility of that muscle group should be increased. PNF Stretching has been called the fastest and most effective way to increase static-passive flexibility.

No matter what technique you decide on, the important thing to remember is to stretch! Flexibility exercises can be performed every day as a way to increase the range of motion in your muscles, joints and tendons. It can also increase your energy, recuperation and circulation while helping to minimize the potential for injury.
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Jun 12, 2009
stretching rocks!
Jun 13, 2009
i stretch everyday during and after my workout and it helps me to remain injury free.
Jun 13, 2009
ON Rocks.
This is some good info. I finally understood dynamic stretching!
Dynamic before and static after!
Jun 13, 2009
Wow is Great!!
Jun 14, 2009
Nice piece of information in a very simple terms.thanks
Jun 14, 2009
very informative ...keep up the good work...thanks
Jun 14, 2009
I found out streaching matter after I was running as if I was 20 and found out I was still 53 and blew out my calif because I didnt stretch never again it over 2 weeks and I am just up to a fast walk after being able to run anyway before You get A Blow Out STRETcH !!!
Jun 15, 2009
From stretching you recup faster !
Jun 19, 2009
yaaa it's very benfit for our muscles.after every set im doing stretching.and i m free.
Jun 21, 2009
Paring your lifting program with a yoga session on your off day works wonders!