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Stretching Exercises Before Workouts for the Body and Its Benefits

Updated on August 9, 2022
Miebakagh57 profile image

Miebakagh57 is a retired Chief Administrative Officer. I am passionate about aerobic exercises, food, nutrition, and good health.


What is stretching exercise, and why should you stretch? To stretch is to make a plastic material longer without breaking. As relating to muscles, "Exercise that stretch the muscle fibres with the aim to increase muscle-tendon flexibility, improve range of motion or musculoskeletal function, and prevent injuries." Stretching specific muscles of the body is an exercise aimed at stretching the flexibility of joints and muscles in the body. Muscle exercise will maintain physical fitness and health. Stretching exercise further retards ageing according to Prehoda.

Employed specific stretching exercises two to three times weekly to lengthen, strengthen, and increase the flexibility of target muscles, and joints in your body. The result is fitness, wellness, and flexibility.

I write this article so that those interested in stretching exercises, good health, and fitness will focus more on stretching workouts before attempting an exercise like the jumping jack, press or push-ups, low or high plank, jogging, and playing games of football, basketball and so on. Good nutritious food should also be taken into account to provide the needed energy.

Warming Ups and Stretching

'Stretching prepares the body for exercise, increases your range of motion and prevents muscle imbalances that can lead to serious injury. The American Council on Exercise advises performing a light five-minute cardiovascular warm-up before stretching. This increases blood flow to the muscles, thus increasing muscular elasticity and preventing injury from stretching the muscles too far. If you are coming off an injury and experience decreased the range of motion, talk to a doctor'.-Riana

Stretching Exercise Re-Defined

Stretching and exercise involve mobility. This will also raise the heart rate. Again, if you had a heart-related disease, you should see your doctor for advice, before a stretching exercise. Otherwise, you will end up with more fatal injuries. Stretching before and after exercise is now becoming very practical. I realize it makes exercise or sports lovers very healthy.

Eat Before Stretching

I will not suggest you stretch and exercise without eating some foods. For your muscles to work well, heat in the form of energy is necessary. You have to eat good food for this. And, it will depend on how long the workout will take. If you are going to stretch, exercise, and jog for an hour, it is bad to go on an empty stomach, even if your aim is to lose some weight. You have to eat nice foodstuff. A cup of water in which lime or lemon juice is added can help. Otherwise, you will end up with ill health and injuries. You will get tired, weak, exhausted, and can faint.

Glucose will yield energy for your muscles. Glucose is the primary fuel for cells, muscles, the heart, and tissues. You get it from fresh or dried fruits like grapes, dates, oranges, sugarcane, and apples. This provides your muscles, cells, and tissues with immediate energy. In addition to eating fruits, eat eggs, milk, soy, and peanuts. These provide you with the essential amino and fatty acids your muscles will later need for nourishment. Always eat and rest for between 30 and 60 minutes before stretching.

Stretch Always

'In its most basic form, stretching is a natural and instinctive activity; it is performed by humans and many other animals'.-Wikipedia

Stretching the Shoulder and Arm

A woman learning to stretch
A woman learning to stretch | Source

Different Stretching Exercises

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention advocates a moderate 150 minutes of intense aerobic exercise such as brisk walking.

Flexibility exercises stretch your muscles. This is of primary importance before any exercise. It stretches the muscles and keeps their supply. In addition, it adjusts the joints of the bone to natural angles.

Aerobic exercises are dynamic exercises. They increase your breathing and heart rate. Your fitness level gets high. Brisk walking, jogging, and swimming are excellent.

Strength or resistance training exercises make your muscles stronger. Lifting heavy objects or weights is good. The high and low plank can develop your core. This is the foremost exercise to attempt along with the push-up and down.

Balance or gait exercises can make it easier for the elderly to walk and help prevent a fall. The one-leg stand is the best trick.

One Leg Stand

The one leg stand help create balance
The one leg stand help create balance | Source

Woke Up and Stretch

You woke up from sleep today. You ease yourself, brush your teeth, bathe, breakfast, and drove off to work, church, or school. I care if you take public transport. But alas, you the driver check the oil and water level of the car, right? You don't give a thought to your body muscle or joint. Your body muscles and the car, which is more important? I bet both are. So, is it not also serious to take good care of the body muscles as the car? As a passenger, why not travel halfway, get off the bus, and stretch your legs by walking the remaining distance to work, church, or shopping?

Again, what is stretching, and why should you stretch specific muscles of the body? The answers to these two questions will give us a better understanding of the subject. It can:

  1. Reduce the body mass index.
  2. Improves muscular weight gain.
  3. Improves your fitness level
  4. Promotes good health.
  5. Enhanced strength and flexibility.
  6. Improves balance and good posture.
  7. Gives you lean, firm muscles, and a fit body.

So, take the time to do some stretching exercise workouts, two or three times a week.

Stretching in Man, Animals, and Birds

Is stretching an instinctive behaviour in a man? My answer is no. Lesser animals and birds have this instinct and are inalienable to them. They are born with it. When you woke up from sleep, you may at times yawn, and felt like stretching. But did you actually take a minute or two to stretch, like doing deep breathing and the jumping-jack?

Stretching is something the civilized man lacks. They go about doing normal work and take to sedentary lifestyles. Then the stiffness of a joint or muscle arises.

Have you seen a babe stretch? It is the nursing mother that does the stretching of the arms, legs, and limbs via, massaging. That is why I reason it is not instinctive behaviour in a man. But man rising from sleep or siesta yawns. At odd times, he is prone to stretching besides yawning! What muscles are being stretched? Is it the arm or jaw muscles?

A babe crying and kicking its legs is not stretching is in pain, hungry, or craving attention. Lesser animals like cows, goats, sheep, and others within hours they come into the world will begin to stretch. The very younger ones take more on this. They walk, run, jump, and gallop here and there. The man lack all these instinctive behaviours. Cats are mysterious animals. They always stretch. So must human beings.

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Animals like cow, goat, and sheep will stretch on the first day they came into the world?

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A Big Cat Stretching

Stretching is a natural trait with animals
Stretching is a natural trait with animals | Source

A Duck Stretching

A duck doing the one leg stand for balance!
A duck doing the one leg stand for balance! | Source

Stretch Before a Workout

'Everyone is more flexible after exercise because you’ve increased the circulation to those muscles and joints, and you’ve been moving them'.- Millar.

The Truth About Stretching Exercise

You should stretch 2 to 3 times in the week. This is what the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) suggested. If you want to stretch daily, do it for only 10 minutes. I suggested core exercises. Do push-ups daily, 10 repetitions. Follow this up with the low and high plank. These three core exercises can condition your body for good health.

Stretching more than 30 minutes daily is bad for the joints and muscles. Why? You may ask. This is to have time for your joint and muscles to recover and rest. Remember, every stretching workout you executed has a serious tear in the joints and muscles. The tear had to heal. It will take some time or your body will break down with joint or muscular issues. If you had an observing eye on some athletes, you will see that their health system has deteriorated. They do not take the time to rest well after stretching and sporting activities.

When you rested your joints and muscles for a day or two from a workout routine, they become nourished with food nutrients vitamins, mineral matters, oxygenated blood, proteins, hormones, and enzymes. This will help the muscles, joints, tendons, cartilages, and ligaments grow and develop properly.

A Statics Stretch

A young woman stretching the leg muscles
A young woman stretching the leg muscles | Source

Benefits of Stretching Exercise

Dynamic stretch
Ballistic stretch
Statics stretch
1. Mimic movements used in sports
1. Rapidly bounced movement.
1. Felt a tension with a muscular release.
2. Increased blood flow and muscular temperature.
2. Stretch muscles to a maximum point.
2. Stretches the muscles.
3. Actual stretch executed repeatedly with momentum.
3. The stretched muscle acts as a spring.
3. Prevent injuries.
4. Increased range of movement of muscles and bones.
4. General fitness.
5. Decreases injuries to muscles and bones.
5. Always use in recovery after an exercise session or sporting practice.
6. Accelerated blood circulation with food nutrients to the joint and muscles.
7. Decreases muscular, back and joint pains.
8. Improves balance and posture.
9. Reduces tension in joints and muscles.
10. Coordinates the neuoro-muscles

Stretch your way to health

Varied Low Plank Stretching

A core exercise for the body
A core exercise for the body | Source

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Start with Deep Breathing Exercise

Let's get started. I assumed you have eaten your meal and rest. The truth is that deep breathing is an exercise in its own right. It is more important than walking, or slow jogging workouts because you are going to breathe in and out doing your jogging exercise, and other aerobic, or keep fit exercises. Even if you are not into doing an exercise routine, you have to breathe in and out regularly, right? What is the import of this? Without fresh air, living things will die.

Began your deep breathing by sitting or standing. Place one hand on the chest and the other on the belly. Now breathe in deeply, and breath out slowly through the nose. This is called diaphragmatic or bellows breathing. You should breathe in and out during every stretching exercise session.

Stretching the Respiratory and Lymphatic System Regularly

You will be noticed that during deep breathing exercises, the respiratory and lymphatic systems are being stretched. But you can carry this at odd moments like when you are in the bathroom to wash or waiting for the next bus. As you wait, breathe in deeply and breathe out slowly. Do 3 to 5 deep breaths before bathing, or waiting for the bus. It is worth the effort. It will improve your mood and help you relax, keep your cool, and enhance your daily tasks.

Isometrics Low Plank Stretching

After breathing exercises, we began with a core best full-body stretch routine. This will target the shoulder, arms, chest, and abdomen for instance. If you do not have 5 minutes for aerobic exercise, a backstretch like this will benefit you in both the short and long run. It takes just 60 seconds for each stretch. Begin by:

1. Lie on the stretching mat or floor face down. With your hands below the shoulders and legs straight out behind, press the hands down to raise the body. Some begin by taking the upper position and lowering down.

2. Bend slowly down in order to lower the body, but above the ground. The body should be in a streamlined position. Breathe out as you do this. Hold the stretch for 60 seconds, one repetition (low plank).

3. Do one more repetition of the low plank. Now push yourself up and hold for 60 seconds (high plank). Do 3 to 5 repetitions, with a 10-second respite for each stretch.

Low Plank Stretch

Low plank stretches your core
Low plank stretches your core | Source

High Plank Stretch

Plank targets and enhanced the core
Plank targets and enhanced the core | Source

Stretching the Neck Muscle

Next, we will take on another practical test, stretching the neck muscles. Neck muscles are easy to elongate. Their functions affect the eyes. The head is one of the most important parts of the body. A severe blow to it can send you into a coma. You think and reason with the head. How many times have you taken your face off the Smartphone, tablet, or notebook computer? Is it any wonder some persons develop eye and neck problems?

Take these two neck stretching exercises now before continuing.

  1. The Passive neck stretch
  • Lie down on the floor face up.
  • Place a roll-up towel under your neck, your head should rest on the floor and not the towel.
  • Tilt your chin back. This will let the weight of the head stretch the scanline's muscles. These are located on the sides of the neck.

2. The neck turn stretch

  • Stand with hands by the side.
  • Take a deep breath.
  • Exhale and turn your head to look at the right shoulder.
  • Take another deep breath, exhale and turn your head to look at the left shoulder.
  • Do 3 to 4 repetitions.

These two stretching exercises are excellent for computer and Smartphone geeks.

Stretching the Spinal Cord

Certain stretching exercises will elongate the spine or spinal cord. The spinal cord rises from the neck and terminates at the buttock. This type of exercise increases one’s height by a few inches. An average increase of 2 inches has been recorded. Do it on a weekly basis. Eat certain rich protein kinds of foods like milk, chickens, butter, egg, and lean meat. Include rich vegetable proteins like soy and quinoa, plus fruits and vegetables.

Stretches your spine, buttock, and neck. These areas degenerate fast. The cobra is a yoga posture. But westerners are now being used to this oriental stretch. It is simple but must be done correctly with care to avoid spinal damage. Do not do the cobra if you are angry. Do not do it if you are not relaxed. Execute the cobra in your sitting room or quiet place without any distraction.

The Cobra Stretch

The exercise can be done in three steps:

  1. Position yourself by lying on your belly on the floor with your hands underneath your shoulder.
  2. Breath in deeply and lift your chest off the floor and raise your neck back looking yonder for 30 seconds.
  3. Breathe out and lower your chest down slowly to the starting position.
  4. Repeat the workout.
  5. Do 3 to 5 repetitions.
  6. A respite of 10-seconds is allowed during each stretch.

You should be careful with the Cobra. Do it correctly by watching the video below without damaging your back.

Cobra Stretch

Cobra stretches lengthen the spinal cord
Cobra stretches lengthen the spinal cord | Source

Demostrating the Cobra Stretch

Benefits of the Cobra Stretch

A simple exercise like the cobra has many benefits that can be gained weekly.

  • It invigorates your heart.
  • The kidney and liver are stimulated.
  • It will open up your chest and clears the passage of the heart and lungs.
  • The circulation of blood, oxygen and food nutrients is greatly improved.
  • It enhanced the digestion of foodstuffs.
  • Lengthen and strengthen the spinal cord.

Waist-Hip Stretching Exercise

Stand with your two legs apart with both hands on the hip. Now swirl the waist clockwise from left to right 4 times. Do a counter-clockwise 4 times. Both legs should be firmly on the ground. This loose the waist and hip muscles. It is good for brisk walkers and joggers.

Stretching the Waist-Hip

A flexible waist and hip can help you bend and lift heavy objects
A flexible waist and hip can help you bend and lift heavy objects | Source

Other Stretching Exercises

There are many stretching exercises that can be done before a workout. The cat stretch has similar benefits as the cobra stretch. So varied are the exercises that each stretch you perform had to do with the exercise in question.

If you are going for a brisk walking exercise, do deep breathing, the hamstring leg stretch, a core stretch, one leg stand, and a jumping jack. This will elongate and strengthen your leg muscles.

The Cat Stretch

Recover Your Muscles

'After you go for a run (jogging) or weight-train, you walk around a little to cool down. Then you do some stretching. It's a nice way to end a workout'. Bracko

Why Recovering Your Muscles is Important

'During exercise, muscles are called upon to work. During this work, fuel is used up, waste products are created and muscle fiber structure is disrupted by multiple micro tears. Imagine a banquet, for comparison, during which the food is eaten, garbage is accumulated (napkins, chicken bones, etc.), and the table settings disrupted. Before the next banquet, the food needs to be restocked, the garbage cleared, and the tables reset'.David Prologo

How to Recover Your Muscles

There are many tips or ways to recover your muscles after a stretching exercise session. The best I would recommend is taking five minutes of stretching again, and then massaging your body muscles with a warm bath. You need to eat a well-balanced diet to replace lost energy during the stretching and exercise routine. Include lots of vegetables and fruits on your diet plate.


Stretching exercises are a must before any aerobic exercise. This will help ease the movement of bones and joints. Your muscles will be well flexible. Pains that usually arose after an exercise routine ceases. The range of movement (ROM) of your muscular system will be well adapted. If you stretch regularly, you will notice that after a slow jogging workout of a mile and back, you feel energetic, strong, and healthy. Stretching exercises play a significant role in your exercise, sporting, and overall health, and are likely to cure disease and increase lifespan. Stretch that muscle in your body today.


1. Stretch definition

2. Wikipedia stretching

3. Wikipedia: Exercise

4. Workout Stretches

5. Deep breathing exercise

6. The Cobra stretch

7. Extended Youth: The Promise of Gerontology, by Robert W. Prehoda, Peter Owen Ltd, London. Subject: Environment, Exercise.

8. Practical stretching

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2018 Miebakagh Fiberesima


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