The Importance of Stretching


The Importance of Stretching

IMG_1234One question I always get asked by my personal training clients is, “How important is it to stretch?”  Stretching muscles is very important for many reasons.  Stretching improves the appearance of the body by lengthening the muscle for a lean, toned look. It can help increase flexibility and range of motion which are important for joint health.  Stretching can improve athletic performance by increasing muscular coordination.  It can also aid in preventing muscle soreness and stimulate the muscles so they recover quicker.   Most importantly though is stretching can prevent or decrease the risk of activity related injuries.

Before stretching, familiarity of proper technique is essential for maximum results.  Instead of bouncing, the stretch should consist of slow, controlled movements called static stretching.  Hold each stretch for 30 to 60 seconds working to feel an ease in tension but not to the point of pain.  Gentle movement while stretching is beneficial and can promote greater flexibility for specific movements such as those done in yoga or tai chi.  Aim to stretch all major muscle groups taking into consideration that only stretching certain muscles will create an imbalance which can decrease flexibility.

The best time to stretch is after muscles are warm and not necessarily as a warm up.  The reason for this is warm muscles are more pliable and less susceptible to injury.  A cold muscle is like a tight, elastic band which can easily be torn or injured if too much strain is put on it.  During strength training, it is preferable to stretch after completing the work on the muscle being trained.  For cardiovascular workouts it is best to stretch after the workout is complete. It is optimal to stretch every day for 10-15 minutes but if that is not viable strive for at least 3-4 times per week.

 In the case of a chronic condition or injury it may be best to consult a doctor, physical therapist or personal trainer to prevent further harm.

For more information about stretching, physical fitness, competition training, or if you’ve been thinking about hiring a personal trainer, contact us.


Training Innovations
2420 Midtown Pl NE
Albuquerque, NM 87107
(505) 261-1253