Why Stretching is Important Before You Workout

In Gym by Asad Kothari

Stretching is important to prevent injury and keep your muscles in good shape. Improving flexibility in your muscles by stretching will increase your overall workout stamina. Also, when you stretch before working out you are helping your joints out too. A good piece of clarification for our Fitness Nation gym buddies is never confuse stretching for warm up. You should warm up before your workout and also before your pre-workout stretch for optimum workout results.

Stretching also improves your posture. Think about it, that good back stretch in the middle of a long work day, feels awesome, right? Focused stretching targets muscles and joints that you work out. Pre-workout stretching engages the same muscles you work out in your warm up, such as your hip flexors, back, calves, and thighs. It’s imperative to stretch to reduce tension in your muscles to return them to a relaxed state before you begin your work out.

From our fitness gym to you, here are some stretching tips:

  • Major muscle groups really benefit from stretching:
    • shoulders and neck,
    • calves and thighs,
    • hips,
    • and lower back.
  • Stretch evenly on both sides!
    • overstretching and under stretching are equally as bad for your muscle, ligaments, and nerves, so make sure you remember to be even.
  • Hold stretches equally.
    • around 10-30 seconds each side, make sure you are comfortable.
  • Remember to breathe!
    • exhale while going into the stretch,
    • hold the stretch as you inhale.
  • Do not bounce while stretching:
    • form and posture are very important.

Stretching should be considered a workout in itself. When you are stretching you are preparing your body, so, if you push it too far, you could injure yourself. Also, contrary to popular belief, stretching should not be painful. Discomfort, sure, because that means you are getting a good stretch, however, when there is pain, stop! Also, know that stretching won’t prevent overuse injury. However, the overall benefits of regular stretching can minimize the risk of injury.

Another cool fact is that stretching non-warmed up muscles, “cold” muscles, leads to injury. When our muscles are warmed up then you can stretch them. This will improve your flexibility, range of motion, posture, and coordination.  In fitness videos you always hear that the coach telling you when to exhale and inhale. This is very important. When you build and use a proper breathing technique, you are getting oxygen to the right places.

Stretching helps reduce muscle tension, making the body feel relaxed. When your body is relaxed and the range of motion is increased, then joint strains will be reduced. Overall, then stretching will reduce your risk for back problems while simultaneously making your body aware of what it is about to be put through. Another great medical benefit for women is that stretching reduces the severity of pain during menstruation.

For many who stretch consistently with proper technique, soreness decreases and your overall happiness with working out increases! So, go stretch! Come visit us today if you are looking for a 24-hour gym in the Arlington or Bedford, Texas area!