5 Reasons Stretching Pre and Post Workout Is Vital For Your Fitness Journey
Did you know that stretching pre and post-workout can do wonders for your fitness journey? That’s right!
We get it – stretching might not be as exciting as hitting the gym or sweating it out during a high-intensity workout. In this comprehensive blog post, we’re going to dive deep into the importance of stretching, backed by research and expert advice.
The Importance of Warming Up
You may have heard that stretching “cold” muscles isn’t a good idea, and you’d be right. Our bodies need to be adequately warmed up prior to stretching—otherwise, our risk for injury and tissue damage increases.
But don’t worry; we’ve got you covered with a simple 5-minute warm-up routine to get your joints and tissues ready for action.
For many folks, dynamic stretches are the most effective for pre-workout mobility, while static stretches and foam rolling are ideal for after the workout. According to WebMD, “stretching a muscle to the full extent of your ability and holding it for 15 to 30 seconds is a static stretch, and there’s no harm in stretching that way as long you don’t stretch until it hurts. But studies suggest a dynamic stretch is just as effective, and sometimes better, especially before your workout!”
If you’re stuck wondering what kinds of stretches are best for you, don’t worry, We have plenty more articles & advice from our team of fitness professionals who will help you figure it out!
What Stretching Before and After Exercise Can Do for Your Body
Below are five benefits of doing stretches before and after exercise …
1. It Helps Prepare Your Body for Exercise
Dynamic stretching before a workout can help your muscles, ligaments, tendons, joint capsules, and other tissues become loosened up and prepared for exercise. Pre-workout mobility also increases core body temperature and stimulates increased blood flow throughout the body, so your tissues will have adequate amounts of oxygen.
Meanwhile, stretching after a workout helps you cool down appropriately and reduce tissue tightness and pain.
2. Gives You a Better Workout
Since pre-workout mobility also prepares your body for exercise, it’ll also help you safely reach your desired workout intensity more quickly. Starting a workout already warmed up and ready to go means you can power through your routine with greater stamina, power, and speed.
A personalised stretching routine that addresses your specific areas of postural imbalances and tightness can help you improve your range of motion. When you combine this with strength training and aerobic conditioning, you can expect to function more efficiently during your workouts and achieve better results.
3. Better Health Overall
Regular stretching has been shown to improve your blood pressure and heart rate as well as maximise your overall mobility, especially as you age. If you’re aiming to live a long and healthy life, do yourself a favour and get to stretching.
4. Stretching Decreases the Risk of Sustaining a Serious Injury
Some studies show that doing stretches may reduce your risk of muscle strains, ligament sprains, joint damage, and other painful injuries common with sports and athletics. However, beware! Stretching is not all you need to do to prevent injuries. Proper form during workouts is vital to keeping yourself safe as well.
5. Stretching Can Relieve Stress
Feeling more stress than normal? Regular stretching—especially when combined with deep breathing and mindfulness exercises—is a great way to ease mental stress and even reduce signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety. The benefit of stretching to relieve stress is that you can do it any time of the day, even if you aren’t exercising! Try stretching when you wake up, before getting your day started, and see what a difference it makes.
Incorporating Stretching into Your Daily Workout Routine
Now that we’ve explored the incredible benefits of stretching before and after exercise, it’s time to integrate it into your daily workout routine. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started:
1. Warm-Up Routine (5 minutes)
- Light jogging or brisk walking for 2-3 minutes to elevate your heart rate.
- Arm circles and leg swings to increase joint mobility.
- Neck stretches to release tension.
2. Pre-Workout Dynamic Stretches (5-10 minutes)
- Leg swings (front-to-back and side-to-side) to improve hip flexibility.
- Arm circles (forward and backwards) to warm up the shoulders.
- Walking lunges to activate the lower body.
3. During Your Workout
Incorporate active rest between sets, such as walking or light stretching, to maintain your heart rate and flexibility.
4. Post-Workout Static Stretches (10 minutes)
Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds and focus on major muscle groups:
- Hamstring stretch
- Quadriceps stretch
- Chest opener
- Triceps stretch
- Shoulder stretch
- Lower back stretch
- Calf stretch
5. Cooling Down (5 minutes)
- Slow walking or gentle jogging to gradually lower your heart rate.
- Deep breathing exercises to calm your mind and relax your body.
You’re all set!
Incorporating stretching into your pre and post-workout routines is a game-changer for your fitness journey. Stretching before and after exercise prepares your body, enhances your workout, prevents injuries, boosts overall health, and even helps you manage stress. Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast, athlete, or simply looking to stay healthy and active, stretching should be a fundamental part of your daily routine.
Remember, your body is your temple, and stretching before and after exercise is the key to unlocking its full potential!
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