Every year, millions of Americans make the resolution to finally get in shape. A lot of them spend a lot of money joining gyms they never attend or buying new exercise gear that they never bother to even put on. But despite the overall trend of giving up on this particular resolution, a lot of people stick with their original plans to exercise more and get in shape. Everyone that exercises, though, needs to be careful when they try new routines. It is important that you keep safety in mind, too. Stretching is an important part of a good, safe workout, and it has other benefits, too. Did you know that stretching is necessary for increasing speed and endurance? Keep reading if you want to know more.
Think of your muscles like rubber bands. A stretched rubber band is full of potential energy, and when you let it go and the rubber band flies across the room, it is full of kinetic energy. And finally when the rubber band lands on the floor in a heap, its energy is spent. Your muscles work the same way. So just like a stiff rubber band won’t fly as far across the room, stiff muscles will not help you fly across the field, or court, or whatever else you are running across.
You may not know that stretching also increases your endurance and heightens your metabolic rate. This means you will be able to work out longer, and even better, your workouts burn more calories, too.
There are other benefits of stretching too. For one, it makes you more flexible to stretch more. Flexibility is not just a good thing when you are exercising, it is helpful during the rest of your life as well. Being flexible means you can push your body past your comfort zone. Stretching is also known to improve the range of your motion, thereby making you more strongly balanced, and less likely to fall. Stretching is also important for your safety because it prevents injuries and promotes recovery if you do get injured.
Stretching has also been proven to improve the cardiovascular health of those who do it. In particular, stretching has been linked to better functioning of the arteries and lower blood pressure.
It doesn’t matter how old you are and what kind of exercise you are doing. Everybody should stretch, no matter what their age. You should not just stretch before you begin your workout, you should stretch after your work out too. Stretching after an exercise routine helps your body feel better post-workout, lowering your amount of muscle soreness and keep your tendons and muscles in good condition. You want your muscles and tendons to be in top shape because that will help your body to endure the rigors of your exercising and participation in sports.
What it all comes down to is that stretching should be included as an important part of everybody’s exercise routines. So make sure that you are stretching before and after your workouts, whether your are running, biking, swimming, or hiking. If you are looking for some stretches to do, try picking up a copy of The Stretching Handbook. It will instruct you on stretching every single muscle group in your body!
About the author: Earl Reidlen has written poignant articles for the sports world for many years. When he’s not busy writing or fishing with his son, you can find him reviewing companies like M. Putterman Athletics.