We’ve all heard that you should stretch before a workout, but did you know that it’s more beneficial to stretch after a workout? There are many reasons behind this, but stretching overall is an essential part of keeping the body healthy and avoiding injuries.
Pliable Muscles Stretch Better
Waiting until after your workout to stretch is better for the muscles because they are warmed up, and therefore more pliable. When the muscles are loose, they will stretch easier, and you’ll be less prone to injuring yourself. You’ll also get the most benefit out of the stretch.
Stretching Should Occur Daily
Stretching after your workout is great, but you should still stretch even on days you don’t exercise. Stretching every day will keep the muscles loose and improve flexibility. You’ll be able to avoid or recover from injuries faster, too. Something as simple as a 5 minute lower and upper body stretch after work or before bed is enough to keep your muscles in good condition.
Not Stretching is Bad for You
If you avoid stretching altogether, either with or without a workout, you’re putting your body at risk of injury and a decreased range of motion in the joints. Stretching does more than loosens the muscles. It also strengthens them so they can withstand daily wear and tear. Muscles that are stretched regularly are also more likely to recover quickly after an injury, such as an ankle sprain or lower back injury.
The Best Stretches to Do
Many stretches benefit the body, but the most important areas to focus on are the lower extremities, lower back, and neck. Stretching the calves and thighs regularly can go a long way in improving mobility, particularly if you sit at a desk all day.
Stretching the upper body is also important, but pay close attention to the neck as this is where a lot of problems like migraines can stem from. If you’re unsure which types of stretches you should be doing, consult with your doctor or a physical therapist for some advice.
Stretching offers many benefits to the muscles and joints. It should be done daily to achieve maximum benefit.