Do you tend to forgo stretching after a workout when you’re short on time? Although studies on the benefits of stretching show mixed results, taking five to ten minutes to stretch after your workout may improve athletic performance and help prevent injury.
Stretching improves muscle flexibility and helps to maintain range of motion in your joints. It also lowers your risk of injuries, such as joint and muscle strain. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), healthy adults should do flexibility exercises, such as stretching, yoga or tai chi, for all major muscle groups at least two to three times a week.
Most of us have been taught to stretch before we exercise ever since our days playing dodgeball in P.E. class. Although there’s still debate over whether stretching before exercise can actually prevent an injury, there is no doubt that stretching is beneficial to your physical health. It increases circulation by encouraging blood flow and supplying nutrients to muscles and cartilage, and has been shown to reduce stress by easing tense muscles and even alleviating lower back pain.