The importance of stretching after working out or playing sports can’t be stressed enough. It helps your body cool down, recover, and is helpful in making strength and endurance improvements.
One of the most overlooked aspects of working out and exercising is stretching. People often finish up their workout or finish their sport and that’s it. They don’t spend the extra time to stretch out afterwards, which can hinder their progression and ultimately lead to an increased risk of injury. Stretching is an essential part of any gym session or sport, like track and field, snowboarding, or kiteboarding.
Warm Up Before the Workout
It’s important to know when to stretch. Often people will stretch before the exercise, which is a mistake. Stretching is supposed to be done after your exercise, when your muscles are already warmed up and loose. Warming up before your workout should include 5 – 10 minutes of light cardio, perhaps some pushups / pullups, and light resistance band work. This helps to prep your muscles and “wake them up”, getting them ready for the following activity.
Stretch After Your Workout
After your workout is when it’s most important to stretch. At this point, your muscles should be tired, and have a build up lactic acid. Stretching helps to ease soreness in the muscle, decrease recovery time of DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscular Soreness), and increase muscular improvements. A good rule of thumb to follow is that for every one hour of activity or exercise, you should stretch for 15 minutes.
5 Benefits of Stretching After Exercising
Increased Flexibility and Range of Motion
By stretching after a workout or activity you maximize the muscular gains and also help to increase the range of motion in the muscle.
With an increased range of motion comes a decrease in the chance of injury occurring. In addition to that, stretching helps to build stabilizing muscles which help prevent injury as well.
Improving Sports Performance
Regular stretching allows your muscles to work more efficiently, so they will be able to handle lactic acid build up better, leading to better muscular endurance.
Eliminate Lactic Acid
Lactic acid builds up in your muscles during a workout and causes fatigue. By stretching you help to remove the lactic acid build up which means that you’ll recover faster from your workout.
An underrated benefit of stretching is the relaxing nature of it. By stretching after your workout you can release a lot of built up tension which leads to greater stress relief.