Neglecting to stretch pre- and post-workout is a common faux pas in the realm of exercising, and it’s one that we don’t take lightly – (and neither should you).
Stretching Prevents Injury
Engaging in cardio or muscle training without a proper warm-up first puts you at risk of straining your muscles, which will prevent you from working out effectively and safely in the future. Incorporating stretching into your warm-up, or even into your cool-down, will get your blood pumping, increase your range of motion, and help to maximize your performance.
Stretching Makes You More Flexible
As aforementioned, stretching regularly actually increases the range of motion of your muscles, allowing you to maximize your potential during your cardio and strength workouts, and heighten your performance overall.
Stretching Improves Your Balance
Understanding the alignment of your muscles is perhaps the first step in learning how to better utilize them. Your muscles appear in pairs throughout your body, and tight muscles, (particularly when the tightness affects one of a set of two muscles), is bound to cause imbalance and feelings of discomfort. Stretching out the muscles opposite to the ones that feel inflamed is a good way to combat that imbalance and discomfort, since essentially you are engaging the healthy side to better support the inflamed one.
Stretching Helps to Correct Postural Imbalance
Anyone who works an office job, where they are stuck at a desk, hunching over a computer all day, will know that there is a fair amount of soreness and stiffness that comes along with the 9:00 to 5:00 life. This discomfort doesn’t necessarily have to be an occupational hazard, and you can counteract those effects by stretching regularly. A sore back, for instance, can oftentimes be attributed to overdeveloped chest muscles or underdeveloped, underused back muscles. To combat back soreness, you want to engage your back and chest muscles regularly, and ultimately increase their range of motion to decrease some of that irritating stiffness.
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