We all know how to stretch, don't we? You flop down on the mat, grunt and grimace for a few minutes, then get on with your workout, right? Actually, that's wrong - learning how and when to stretch can improve your performance and reduce you risk of injury. We explain how.
The benefits of stretching:
Stretching is included in many basic workout programmes as a part of the warm up or cool down, but very few people actually understand what happens when they stretch.
Many people simply don't bother stretching, or race through it to get to the 'real' part of the workout - partly because they don't understand the benefits of stretching. So does it matter?
Stretching is important, because proper stretching reduces the risk of injury, it can also improve performance, and is a great way to relax.
In addition, stretching increases the length of muscles and tendons, which improves flexibility and range of movement - limbs and joints can thus move farther, improving performance and reducing your injury risk.
Other benefits of stretching include:
- Reduced muscle soreness after workouts
- Improved posture
- Reduction of lower back pain
- Increase blood and nutrient flow to tissues throughout the body
- Improved coordination