Flexibility & Stretching Zone!

Benefits of Stretching!

Ryan Krane

By Ryan Krane, MS, CPT, PES, CES

Stretching is extremely important in our current society as many people sit for extended periods of time whether it is at work, while exercising, or in their car. This is often the result of people working longer hours and spending less time outside exercising. Since people have less time to exercise they are rushing their exercise programs and are cutting corners to complete their workouts in the limited time they have. Can you guess what component of their exercise program that they are neglecting? If you don't know the answer I'll tell you. . . Keep reading below to find out what people are skipping in their workouts?

What people are avoiding in their workouts is STRETCHING because they don't make the time to stretch before and after their exercise routines. They would rather lift weights or exercise aerobically instead of stretching before and after their workouts. Most individuals understand the significance of stretching, but don't do it. People nowadays are spending less time exercising and more time in a sedentary position, which places their bodies in a compressed position and puts their muscles to sleep. This can be avoided by performing regular stretching before and after their exercise routines.

Key Stretching Benefits

The first most common question I get asked in my corrective exercise practice is, "Hey Ryan, I know stretching is important, but what are the key benefits"? I love answering this question because my clients have a thorough understanding of the importance of stretching and all the benefits associated with it. Stretching is extremely important for the body and offers many key benefits which include:

• Promotes healthy circulation throughout the body
• Increases overall flexibility
• Reduces stress
• Enhances range of motion throughout the body

When to Stretch

The second most common question I get asked in my corrective exercise is, "Hey Ryan, when do I need to stretch? Should I do it before or after"? This is a terrific question and is an area that causes great confusion for many people so I want to make sure this is clear. In short, my answer to this question is BOTH! Stretching needs to be performed before and after exercising and the length of it will depend upon the exercise that was performed along with how intense the workout was.

Stretching before exercise is vital for the following reasons:

• Properly warms-up the body prior to activity
• Prepares the body and mind for the upcoming workout
• Promotes oxygen throughout the body
• Alleviates tight muscles in the body

Stretching after exercise is also critical and in less than fifteen minutes one will receive many benefits of post-workout stretching. Post-workout stretching needs to be achieved immediately after the exercise activity to not only return one's body back to its normal resting position, but most importantly to make sure that the individual completes the post-workout stretching routine.

Some of the key benefits associated with post-workout stretching include:

• Cools the muscles down after exercise
• Optimizes recovery and prevents muscle soreness
• Helps relax the mind
• Calms the body after exercise


And there you have it! Now you clearly understand the key benefits associated with stretching as well as the reasons why to stretch before and after your exercise routines. Remember, you only have one body so by stretching regularly you will be preventing injuries and improving athletic performance. Stretching is not difficult it just needs to be performed regularly to experience all the positive benefits. You can do it! I believe in you! Your time is now!

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(October 2014)