The High 5 on Stretching

Stretching is not the highest rated activity for most people. In fact, I am not overly fond of stretching though I know better than to do any exercise or intense physical activity without a good stretch. Stretching is important though. Stretching helps you relieve tension in the muscles after a workout that can reduce cramps and other muscle pain. Stretching can also warm up a muscle, loosening them for the workout and prevent strains and tears in the muscle fiber that are pain inducing rather than strength building.

So let’s talk about our high 5 on stretching:

  • Stretching helps you maintain your flexibility. As we get older, the tendons connecting our muscles to our bones get shorter and tighter – stretching can increase your flexibility and increase your range of motion
  • Stretching improves your posture and your ability to walk – seriously. Think about how you feel after you get out of the car after a long car ride or off an airplane. Your body feels cramped and it’s harder to straighten up – stretching improves your ability to straighten up and bend down to pick up items as well as do your workout an more
  • Stretching balances out your muscles – More often than not, we have stronger muscles in opposing areas – your quadriceps (front thigh muscles) can be and often are stronger than your thigh muscles in the back and your hamstrings. By stretching, you are balancing the tone on the muscles and helping to prevent injuries when stronger muscles yank on weaker ones
  • Stretching helps you build tone. While stretching alone is not enough to get you into shape, concentrated and isolated stretching is a positive way to improve the way your body shapes itself and helps your muscles to repair and hold their tone
  • Stretching is a positive mental activity – Since you should stretch before, during and after a workout – stretching can help put you into the right mindset to do your workout. I always feel good during my cool down stretch and feeling the tautness in the muscles that is very different from when I was warming up

Can you think of other reasons to stretch?

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About Heather Long

Heather Long is 35 years old and currently lives in Wylie, Texas. She has been a freelance writer for six years. Her husband and she met while working together at America Online over ten years ago. They have a beautiful daughter who just turned five years old. She is learning to read and preparing for kindergarten in the fall. An author of more than 300 articles and 500+ web copy pieces, Heather has also written three books as a ghostwriter. Empty Canoe Publishing accepted a novel of her own. A former horse breeder, Heather used to get most of her exercise outside. In late 2004, early 2005 Heather started studying fitness full time in order to get herself back into shape. Heather worked with a personal trainer for six months and works out regularly. She enjoys shaking up her routine and checking out new exercises. Her current favorites are the treadmill (she walks up to 90 minutes daily) and doing yoga for stretching. She also performs strength training two to three times a week. Her goals include performing in a marathon such as the Walk for Breast Cancer Awareness or Team in Training for Lymphoma research. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience through the fitness and marriage blogs.

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