Why Is Stretching Important

Hannah Steigerwalt
Therapy Manager
Southern Hills Skilled Nursing & Rehab Center

StretchingWe all know that stretching should be an important part of our daily routine. Let’s all be honest and admit it. We are all guilty of skipping the post workout stretch.

These days there is a huge focus on getting two and a half hours of moderate exercise.  The federal governments’ new guidelines recommend this amount of exercise. While that is important, it is also important to add a few minutes of stretching after exercising.

The Benefits of Stretching

Increased flexibility and range of motion. The more range of motion each joint has, the more mobility and agility you have. This range is typically limited by the length the muscle is able to stretch. This can overall decrease your risk for injury. It is important for your joints to have the ability to go through their whole range of motion. You do not want that range to be limited. Think of all the muscles that stretch as you bend down to tie your shoes. As you reach up to grab a bowl from a top shelf in the cabinet, stretch out your muscles.

Increased circulation. Just like exercise, stretching can increase your circulation. Stretching decreases your risk for health issues as you age. This will also help to increase recovery and healing time from any injuries you may have further down the road.

Decreased pain. If you strengthen your muscles and do not stretch them they get tight. Over time those tight muscles start to pull on the bones they are attached to. This leads pain in the muscles and joints. For example, if you have tight hamstrings they can actually pull your pelvis out of alignment. This creates pain when you walk or pain in your low back.

Increased posture. Tight muscles can make you walked with a stooped posture. By stretching your postural muscles you can improve your posture and help with joint alignment.

Overall, it is important to listen to your body. Whether or not a muscle feels tight, you should still incorporate stretching into your daily routine. There is a surplus of information available on stretching correctly and how much to stretch each muscle. You never want a stretch to be painful. You need to feel a strong stretch at the end range.