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Importance of Stretching in Workouts

Updated on February 14, 2013
Let's stretch!
Let's stretch!

Let's put the record straight on the importance of stretching exercises in our workouts.

Many regard stretching as an extra activity that doesn't need to be performed in workouts. I have to admit that I am not as faithful as I should be in doing stretching exercises in my own workouts. The importance of stretching however, encompasses physical form. It improves our athletic performance, muscle building, blood circulation, and more. It is therefore relevant for us to know the importance of stretching in our every workout.

Why stretch? - Importance of stretching

Stretching is a physical activity of flexing and pulling our muscles up to its fullest possible length. Our range of motion widens when we stretch more often. Stretching exercises may be done at home, anywhere, anytime. It's very easy to do; perhaps the very reason why the importance of stretching is often overlooked.

During workouts, stretching is performed for many reasons. To highlight the importance of stretching, here are some of the benefits of stretching to our body:

  • Stretching exercises loosens up and relaxes the muscle.
  • Stretching exercises prevents muscle pains after workout.
  • Stretching exercises increases our body's performance.
  • Stretching exercises improve our body's flexibility and motion range.
  • Stretching exercises improves blood flow.
  • Stretching exercises help in a post-workout recovery.
  • Stretching exercises reduces injury caused by strained muscles.

Stretching should be done before and after workouts. While stretching exercises are sometimes boring to do, they bring us to our optimal performance during workouts.

Importance of stretching exercises for runners:

Stretching exercises are important in all physical activities, including running. If you're doing regular cardio exercises, focus your stretching exercises on your arms, legs, lower back and the neck. The muscle groups in these areas are heavily used during a run. Flexing and pulling them elevates your running performance and your post-running activities.

Follow these helpful stretching tips to appreciate the importance of stretching in your workouts.

  1. Before starting your workout, begin with a general warm up; followed by low intensity stretching exercises. Too intense stretching before the actual workout may cause muscle strain since the muscle is not yet fully relaxed.
  2. Gradually stretch the muscles; never rapidly pulling them to avoid muscle tensions.
  3. Allot at least 5 minutes of stretching activities before and after workout.
  4. Do not overstretch the muscles up to the point of pain.
  5. Do not stretch when you are injured, e.g. sprains, muscle strains.


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