Why You Should Always Stretch Before a Workout

It’s no secret that exercise is important. It strengthens your muscles, improves cardiovascular health and helps you form healthy bones. When you exercise consistently, you see results. But, there is one thing about exercise that people often overlook. That is, the importance of stretching before your workout. The young and fit are actually the biggest offenders here.

People think that because they can work out without stretching and not have immediate problems that it’s a step they can skip. They think that stretching before and after a workout eats up valuable time that could be spent running or lifting weights; but actually, stretching enhances the time that you spend doing those things.

Before you workout, your muscles are cold and stiff. If you jump from there to overexertion, you’re causing more stress on your body than need be. That stress can later present itself as a sprain or “pulled muscle.” All you need is five to 10 minutes of stretching your muscles to get the blood flowing and you will see the positive effects. Think about it: Whether you sit behind a desk all day at your job as an administrative assistant, journalist or web developer, your muscles are at rest more than they are at work. Stretching is an essential part of being fit. But unfortunately, the effect of stretching before your workout is often the absence of a problem. Since most people won’t experience a problem every single time they workout without stretching, it’s hard for some to make that connection and understand the importance of stretching.

Stretching before a workout can increase flexibility. If you’re a fighter or a dancer, you might already be aware of this, but people who rely less on flexibility during their workouts often think they can avoid stretching. Many avid hikers, for example, won’t bother stretching, but later in life will develop tendonitis as a result.

After your workout, stretching is just as important. While you workout, lactic acid is building up in your muscles. This is what actually causes the soreness or stiffness right after a workout. It comes from the muscles tearing during the workout. It’s a natural part of exercise, but you can limit the pain (and get your butt back to the gym the next day) by doing a five minute cool down session. Another reason we feel sore after a workout is from excessive muscle tearing, which can be limited by the same stretching session.

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2 Responses to Why You Should Always Stretch Before a Workout

  1. Barb says:

    So much helpful information! My problem is kind of the opposite though… I love to stretch, and sometimes I’ll just do that, then skip the workout!

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