There are three major components that measure fitness: cardiovascular endurance, strength and flexibility. Flexibility is often the most overlooked and undervalued. It is defined as the range of motion in a joint and the length of the muscles that cross the given joint. While it varies greatly from person to person, the importance of including stretching in your fitness routine is undeniable. Stretching should be done after your body is warm in order to prevent injury to cold muscles, and for the same reason, bouncing stretches should be avoided. Add a little stretching at the beginning of a workout, a few minutes after, and you’ll see improvement in several fitness related areas. Here are three great reasons to take the last five minutes of your workout to stretch:
1) Stretching increases flexibility and better flexibility makes you less susceptible to strains, sprains, tears and pulls.
2) Stretching increases blood flow to the muscle. More blood and nutrients getting to the muscles aides with repair and cleaning out of any lactic acid build-up, which helps prevent soreness, and that’s always good news.
3) Improve balance and posture by relieving tension in back muscles and releasing stress. Having a larger range of motion allows your body to maintain its natural and proper alignment with less effort, helping to prevent falls and keep you sitting up straight.
So, whether you can touch your toes or not, give it a try. Hold each stretch steady for 30 seconds, and remember not to bounce. Stretch each and every time you work out to have fewer injuries, less soreness and better posture before you know it.