The Benefits of Stretching

Posted by Andy Sundblad on

Here are several great benefits of stretching before and after your workouts. Most people know that stretching before a workout can improve your range-of-motion and even minimize the risk of injury while exercising. But did you know that the benefits of stretching also include things like reducing cholesterol and stress, as well as increasing stamina? Here’s what you need to know about the benefits of stretching.

3 Types of Stretching
There are 3 main types of stretching, which are as follows:
  1. Ballistic stretching - bouncing muscles toward their maximum range-of-motion
  2. Static stretching - holding your stretches
  3. Passive, alternating stretching - using a resistant force to achieve the stretch (examples include a partner, bodyweight, bands, etc.)
The Benefits of Stretching
Improves Range-of-Motion

Stretching before a workout helps loosen muscles and makes your body more flexible. The direct benefit of this is that it increases your range-of-motion during your workout. Beyond working out, greater range-of-motion may also be useful when engaging in other physical activities like playing basketball or tennis.

Decrease Risk of Injury

Of all the benefits of stretching before a workout, some say that minimizing the chances of injury is the most important. When your muscles are more flexible and your body is prepared for a strenuous activity, the likelihood of you injuring yourself considerably decreases.

Increased Blood Flow

Stretching your muscles before a workout increases your blood flow and circulation. This extra blood flow helps as it is needed by your muscles, joints and tendons in order to be ready for a more rigorous activity.

Improved Posture

When you stretch before a workout, you are elongating your muscles. At the same time, you are also strengthening them. On top of all of the other benefits named here, stretching before you exercise can actually help improve your posture.

Reduced Soreness

Soreness is almost unavoidable after a good workout. After all, it’s the creation and repairing of tiny tears in your muscles that make them grow and become stronger. In this sense, soreness is almost the reward. However, too much soreness can make it hard to go about your daily activities and can also make it harder to workout the next day, so you want to reduce how much you feel it whenever possible. Stretching before a workout helps prime your muscles, so while you still get the reward, it is possible to use stretching to minimize just how much soreness you feel after exercising.

Other Health Benefits

Stretching before a workout has other health benefits, too. For example, stretching is a great way to combat stress, reduce pain, lower cholesterol and increase your energy levels throughout the day!

Words of Caution About Stretching Before a Workout

As many are the benefits of stretching, there are a few ways that stretching may cause your body harm. Some of these include:

Incorrect Stretching

Don’t expect to do just any old stretches that come to mind before working out and reap the benefits. No, stretching in this way can actually be harmful. It’s important that you target the right muscle groups for stretching and that you do so with correct form and symmetry. We recommend that you use our Stretching Exercise Poster to ensure that you are stretching the right way each and every time you prepare for a workout!

Confusing Stretching With Warming Up

Stretching before a workout is not the same as warming up. A warm-up involves very light cardio exercises lasting for a total of about 10 minutes just to get the heart rate up and to warm your muscles. Experts recommend that you always prep your muscles before a workout and that you stretch only after you’ve completed your warm-up.

Learn How to Stretch Correctly

We cannot stress enough the benefits of stretching when done correctly. In order to help you maximize these benefits, we’ve created a fully-illustrated and laminated Stretching Exercise Poster for your home gym. With 53 stretching exercises to choose from, you can stretch your entire body before and after your favorite workout while reducing your risks of harm or injury. Check the poster out on Amazon for yourself and happy stretching!