Woman stretching and warming up

Why You Need to Stretch Before a Workout



Strength training builds muscles, cardio improves aerobic health and stretching keeps us flexible and limber.

Stretching is something we do at the start of every activity. It’s become so routine that we forget how important it is and why we should be doing it daily.

When we stretch our muscles, we keep them healthy, strong and flexible. It prepares our muscles for activity by increasing our range of motion and without it, we risk strain and muscle damage. Tight muscles have less range of motion than when you stretch them out for a few minutes.

Stretching also improves circulation to your muscles. One study of 32 patients diagnosed with acute myocardial infarction or heart attack found that stretching improved their peripheral circulation. Another study showed that stretching before, after or before and after workouts reduced some muscle soreness during the 72 hours after exercise (also known as delayed onset muscle soreness).

There are two types of stretches - these are Dynamic and Static stretches. Dynamic stretches are stretches that incorporate movement and repetition so that each stretch takes joints and muscles through their full range of movement. Most athletes do dynamic stretching in order to loosen up joints and warm up the muscles. A static stretch is a deep and slow stretch. Often times the position is held for a few moments to help with muscle flexibility.

Stretching Exercises

Morning Stretches

Stretching after you wake up has plenty of benefits. It improves circulation and can help you wake up. The trick is to start slow and do deep static stretching to improve flexibility. You can use these stretching exercises in bed the minute you wake up in the morning.

Stretches for People Who Sit All Day

Even when you’re in front of your computer all day, you still need to stretch. You need to stretch to improve your posture. When we’re sitting, we tend to slump over and slouch. This puts tension in our spines especially when we do it for long periods of time and daily. Overtime, you’ll develop lower back pain if you keep on doing this.

You should be doing stretches that relieve tension in the lower back, shoulders and chest. Try these 7 core exercises that can help with lower back pain.

Stretches for Walking or Running

Before you go for your run or walk, it’s important to stretch and warm up your quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, and etc. to prepare them for activity. The best stretches for these types of activity are dynamic stretches. You can use these dynamic stretches before running or walking.

So whatever you’re doing whether on the couch watching TV, at work or working out. It’s important to stretch in order to keep the blood flowing and warm your muscles.

Summary

Stretching is important because it keeps our muscles healthy, strong and flexible. It prepares our muscles for activity by improves circulation and increasing our range of motion; without it we risk strain and muscle damage.

There are two types of stretches. Dynamic stretches are stretches that incorporate movement and repetition so that each stretch takes joints and muscles through their full range of movement. Most athletes do dynamic stretching in order to loosen up joints and warm up the muscles. Static stretches are deep and slow stretches that are held in position for a few seconds to encourage muscle flexibility.

References

"Stretching exercises enhance vascular endothelial function and improve peripheral circulation in patients with acute myocardial infarction." - PubMed, 2013
 
"Stretching Before and After Exercise: Effect on Muscle Soreness and Injury Risk" - Journal of Athletic Training, July, 2005
 
"The 8 Best Stretches to Do Before Running" - Livestrong, May 15, 2019
 
"Dynamic Stretching and Static Stretching" - Well For Culture
 
"5 MORNING STRETCHES IN BED | to wake up & energize" - Meghan Livingstone, August 23, 2018
 
"7 Simple Core Exercises That Prevent Lower Back Pain" - UC San Diego Health, May 8, 2012
 
"Running Tips : How to Stretch Before Running" - eHowFitness, September 26, 2010
 
"Deskercise - Lower Back and Torso Stretches" - Mayo Clinic, January 26, 2013