I have seen a workout online. I tried it myself right away because I was excited to see if I could do it. I did it, fortunately. But guess what happened. I sprained my ankle. It was my fault because I forgot one crucial thing – stretching. Yes, stretching is critical before any intense exercise. After my terrible experience, I now always perform stretching activities before the actual battle. Then, the risks of getting injured are lower.
Apart from preventing any injury, here are the other reasons stretching is necessary:
Aside from an injury, another thing I experienced was extreme fatigue. Yes, I already felt exhausted even after a few minutes of my exercise. But when I perform some stretching activities, I always withstand long exercise sessions. What is the science behind that? Stretching just awakens and prepares our muscles and joints for an intense workout. That’s it! If you always feel super tired after aerobic or strength training, stretching will be a lifesaver. Trust me!
Promote Smooth Oxygen Flow
While multiple factors hinder our athletic performance, lack of oxygen flow is on top of the list. More than the decline in performance, it can result in serious joint injury that you do not want to encounter. Every time you start to exercise, you will feel excruciating pain and tension, especially when your circulation is not normal. But say bye to that discomfort with stretching. Studies have shown that stretching encourages a good flow of oxygen through our bloodstream. Then, it helps relieve pain, reduces injury, and guarantees our desired movement performance.
Take our Motivation and Energy to the Next Level
Research says that blood starts to accumulate in muscles that have not been used. But when our blood circulation is in perfect condition, we feel motivated and energetic. We also have increased concentration because the blood and oxygen in our brain flow without any trouble. Sometimes, we may feel sluggish and weak the moment we wake up. Stretching can play a critical role.
Usually, stretching is done before a workout session. In my case, I also stretch even during an exercise. But is it safe? Definitely! It is beneficial during resistance training. Let’s be honest, after a few minutes of exercise, our muscles get tired. With stretching, however, we can re-establish the pathways of our minds to our muscles. As a result, we feel more coordinated. Then, we can achieve our expected result with a 100% success rate.
Reduce the Build-up of Lactic Acid
When there is not enough oxygen in our muscles, lactic acid starts to build up. Oxygen does not flow normally when a person suffers from heart disease, cancer, short bowel syndrome, and chronic alcoholism. Research also suggests that intense physical activity is another contributing factor. Common symptoms include exhaustion, abdominal pain, decreased appetite, diarrhea, rapid heart rate, and headache. If you have a long and intense strength training and feel weak, it indicates that your system’s lactic acid has accumulated. Stretching has you covered. Once the muscles are relaxed, the lactic acid level begins to dissolve.
Ensure Immediate Muscle Repair
It is also recommended to stretch even after exercise because improved blood circulation allows our muscles to receive enough oxygen, making the recovery process faster than usual. Aside from stretching, getting hydrated can help. With enough fluid in our system, our muscle flexibility improves while we experience relief from soreness. That’s not all! I also encourage everyone to eat a healthy snack to replenish muscle energy. Enough carb intake restores glycogen levels, making us energetic. On the other hand, protein helps our muscles recover quickly.
Achieve More Flexibility
A flexible body allows you to get into complicated yoga shapes and prevents muscle tension. But let’s admit it, having good flexibility does not happen instantly. But with regular and proper stretching, you can see a huge difference. While it takes a few days for some, it may require other people to wait for weeks. In my case, I get flexible after two weeks, which is normal. If you want to be flexible quickly, you need to be more committed and persistent with your goal.