5 Reasons Why Stretching Should Be Part of Your Daily Routine
Although it might be tempting to skip a stretch session before or after a workout, you could be missing out on big benefits. Stretching exercises don’t just help your body get extra bendy, they’re also a key component of overall fitness. Whether you’re a runner, HIIT enthusiast, or an Xtend Barre regular, stretching is essential.
What are some of the benefits of stretching daily? Openfit Live Trainer Jennifer Fuller shares her thoughts on the top five benefits of stretching.
Reap all the benefits of stretching in 5- to 15-minute sessions of XB Stretch on Openfit. Start your free trial here!
1. Increased Flexibility and Mobility
“As we age, or suffer from injury or illness, our flexibility, mobility, and general range of motion is decreased or compromised,” says Fuller. However, we can help reverse “the effects of aging, injury, or illness by adding in a regular stretching routine. Also, stretching is very light or gentle and can be done as an active recovery.”
Static stretching can also help you increase or maintain mobility, keeping your joints healthy and moving through their full range of motion.
2. Improved Posture
Stretching can help lengthen the muscle fibers, which leads to better alignment that helps support your entire body, especially along the spine. Just a bit of stretching can improve posture, which is important, says Fuller, since poor posture can place stress on the joints and cause premature wear and tear. But that’s not all good posture can bring.
“The benefits of good posture are numerous, from increased energy, improved circulation and digestion, decreased neck and shoulder tension, reduced headaches, plus many more,” she says.
It may also help you breathe better, during a workout and for the rest of the day. Because you minimize time spent hunching — a very common situation with so much computer work these days — it will create more space for your lungs to expand.
3. Injury Prevention
One of the top benefits of stretching is what it prevents. Not only will your joints be better supported, but your increased range of motion will reduce resistance on your muscles during exercise.
Preparing your body for a workout by getting muscles warm will help reduce the risks associated with injury, says Fuller.
“You cannot go wrong with stretching prior to any workout,” she says. “Stretching can benefit even the non-athlete. Injury prevention is key for all ages and all ability levels.”
4. Increased Energy
Stretching increases the blood flow to the muscles and organs, says Fuller. This will give a sensation of more energy and vitality.
“In a world of go, go, go, we can all use that added increase of energy,” she says. With that efficient blood flow, you’ll also be getting more nutrients to your muscles and joints, supporting them for whatever training you take on.
5. Better Recovery
Feeling like you can’t move properly a day or two after a workout isn’t a badge of honor — instead, it’s an indication that you likely need to adjust your exercise progression. Stretching can help, Fuller believes, since it brings increased blood flow and nutrient delivery to the muscles.
“Stretching and hydrating the muscles after a workout helps with post-workout muscle fatigue,” says Fuller.
The easiest (and most enjoyable) way to work stretching into your workout routine is with our new XB Stretch program, with sessions that take just 5 to 15 minutes. Designed by Andrea Rogers (creator of our other Xtend Barre programs), XB Stretch is a quick and easy way to help prevent injury, combat aches and pains, reduce stress, and just feel good!
Active Stretching Improves Flexibility, Joint Torque, and Functional Mobility in Older Women
CURRENT CONCEPTS IN MUSCLE STRETCHING FOR EXERCISE AND REHABILITATION
- The effect of sitting posture on the loads at cervico-thoracic and lumbosacral joints pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29758964/
- Effects of forward head posture on forced vital capacity and respiratory muscles activity www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4755989/
Daily muscle stretching enhances blood flow, endothelial function, capillarity, vascular volume and connectivity in aged skeletal muscle
- Influence of passive stretch on muscle blood flow, oxygenation and central cardiovascular responses in healthy young males journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/ajpheart.00732.2015