Stretching Before Or After a Workout? Benefits of Doing Both

Stretching Before Or After a Workout? Benefits of Doing Both

Exercise and physical fitness in general should not be taken for granted and they most certainly should not be taken lightly either.

Exercise, sports, fitness, and physical activity in general, whilst beneficial, can still be extremely dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing or if you don’t take them seriously.

You may not think it, but they can even be fatal as there are many people who have sadly lost their lives over the years due to negligence when it comes to exercise and physical fitness.

Although the likelihood of losing one’s life as a result of sport, exercise, and fitness is pretty slim, there are many other dangers associated with these pastimes and activities that are far more likely: broken bones, pulled muscles, torn muscles, and painful cramps to name but a few.

If you’ve ever experienced any of the aforementioned conditions, you’ll know just how painful and debilitating they can be, and what’s most frustrating of all is that they can be so easily avoided, all by stretching and warming up.

When it comes to a warm up stretching routine, most people don’t actually do either before they exercise at all, whilst puts them at a much higher risk.

However, there are also multiple benefits associated with stretching after a workout as well, and yep, you guessed it, very few people do this as well.

Here we’ll be taking a look at the benefits associated with stretching before and after a workout so perhaps the next time you’re working out, you’ll set an extra 5 – 10 minutes aside and perform a few stretching exercises before and after you train.

Improved flexibility –

One of the main benefits associated with stretching, both before and after a workout, is the fact that it has been proven on multiple occasions to improve your flexibility substantially.

Basically, think of flexibility as to the extent in which your muscle fibres will lengthen.

As we grow older, or become less active, these muscles grow tighter and shorter, which greatly restricts flexibility and makes even the most trivial of tasks such as straightening your legs or bending down to tie your shoelaces, a painful and difficult ordeal.

Stretching regularly, however, has been proven to extend these muscle tissues and fibres, improve their elasticity and improve your flexibility as a result.

Try a few weeks of stretching daily for a few minutes each day, especially before and after a workout, and you’ll be amazed by just how more flexible you become over a relatively short amount of time.

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Photo: Emma Pursey

Reduced risk of injury –

Another great benefit of stretching before and after a workout is the fact that it has been proven to be an incredibly effective way of helping you to reduce the risk of suffering a painful injury during, or after, you exercise.

The reason for this is that it again warms up the muscle fibres and improves their elasticity, making them longer and more flexible.

If you think of a piece of string that is being pulled tight, it is much easier to snap than a piece of string that is loose and flexible, and the same goes for your muscles.

It’s important to stretch after you workout as well, as you again are less likely to suffer a pulled muscle or painful muscle cramps as a result of the increased lactic acid levels in your body.

Improved athletic performance –

You may not realise this, but stretching before you work out can actually greatly improve your athletic performance and your recovery rates.

The reason for this is that stretching has been proven to increase your blood circulation within your body.

This increase in blood flow means that more blood is able to be transported to your muscles.

This is vital because blood supplies the muscles, or rather the cells within the muscles, with oxygen, nutrients, and energy which makes them for efficiency.

The more blood that is able to be supplied to the muscles, the more efficient they will become, meaning the better you will perform athletically.

If you are unfortunate enough to suffer from a painful muscle or joint injury, another great benefit is that the increased oxygen being supplied via the blood, can speed up the healing and recovery process, allowing you to recover from injuries much quicker.

Better posture –

You may not realise it, but stretching can also help to improve your posture, which, although you might not have noticed, can actually be harming your athletic performance, not to mention your joints in the process.

Stretching helps to greatly loosen your muscles and your muscle tissue, which is so important because tight and stiff muscles are often the root cause of poor posture.

Poor posture not only makes you look shorter, but more seriously, it also leads to pain in the back and shoulders.

Stretching before and after a workout can help to improve your posture, making you look taller and helping to alleviate pain in the back, neck and shoulders.

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