The excuses for avoiding stretching after exercise are many. We’re too busy, have limited workout times, it hurts, etc. There are many more reasons than excuses to carve out time to stretch.
Anyone can benefit from stretching, regardless of what age or shape you’re in:
Regular stretching will improve flexibility, allowing you to do even simple movements more easily.
If you work out or play sports, stretching will enhance your performance and help you avoid injury.
Consistent stretching softens the effects of aging. As we age, the tissues supporting our joints start to thicken. Regular stretching keeps the tissues pliable. Ease of movement can result from even the most rudimentary stretching routine.
For those of us who sit at a desk all day, commute to work, or collapse in front of the television in our spare time, stretching is vital to help avoid stiffness and soreness in the low-back.
The large muscles of the body are often the prime focus of workouts or weight-training. Squats, lunges, cycling, cardio classes, and fitness equipment target the large muscles. If you avoid stretching these areas, they become overly tight. The tightness can set you up for sciatica, low-back, or knee pain. It’s best to stretch these areas after a workout, while they are still warm and pliable.
If you suffer from a medical disorder or a back problem, it’s important to check with your doctor first. If you’re just starting out, and especially if you are very stiff, start slowly. Stretches should feel pleasant and sustainable. No shaking of limbs or pain while holding the stretch. It won’t take long to notice a marked improvement your in your flexibility, carriage, and movement.
- Pam Brooks