Stretching is essential. I repeat, ESSENTIAL! Stretching is often over-looked as a necessity in your workout routine, but it is just as important as the workout itself. I, for one, used to skip out on stretching and go straight for the weights. My muscles always seemed to feel naturally tight regardless of whether I stretched or not, so I figured, what difference would it make? It wasn't until I realized my muscles weren't recovering as quickly from my gym sessions anymore that stretching became part of my daily workout routine. But let's say you are generally flexible and have great mobility, do you still need to stretch? YES! Here's why:
1. Stretching warms up your muscles for the allllll of the movements or heavy weights you're about to lift *cue flex*. It activates the muscles and increases blood flow to notify the muscles, "Yo! You're about to get pumped up!"
2. Tightness in large muscle groups can cause muscular imbalances by compensating with other non-primary muscles. It can even ruin your technique, whether you are running, performing a squat, or anything in between.
3. Stretching reduces your risk of injury. Why? Because if you don't stretch, then move a limb incorrectly or use a muscle too extensively, you could easily tweak something and be out for weeks or even months! Worth the risk? I don't think so.
4. Mobility and flexibility are important to achieve regardless of your level of fitness. Range of motion can determine how strong and powerful your movements are.
Proper stretching is practiced as a beginner and as an expert. Incorporating 5-10 minutes of stretching before and after your workout will do wonders for you! Your body will thank you. Stretching is also an excellent option for a rest day or an active rest day. What are some of your favorite and most effective stretches? Let me know!