So often stretching after exercise is overlooked, when if fact, it should be seen as part of your session. Your body will thank you for that quiet time on the mat. “Stretching can help increase blood flow to those exerted muscles, which can help alleviate future soreness,” says Rowley who advocates holding each light stretch for about 20 seconds. Trust: It'll make getting out of bed the next morning so much easier.
During a hard workout, muscles go through numerous contractions which leave them in a miss-shaped and shortened state, which is why you will feel stiffness and soreness if you don’t try and rectify the state by stretching.
Your body produces lactic acid which makes your muscles tired and sore, stretching helps to eliminate the lactic acid.
Endorphins are released after a workout once your body starts to cool down, stretching helps slow the cooling process ensuring you feel energised after your workout.
Stretching helps the blood flow back into your muscles at a more regulated pace, allowing your heart rate to come back to normal, your muscles feed on oxygen and nutrients brought in by the blood
The most common complaint amongst active people is the lower back area. Nine times out of ten stretching the hamstrings and hip flexors, muscles that are attached to the pelvis, will relieve that pain.
General posture is improved, people tend to stand up straighter particularly if you focus on stretching backs, shoulders and chests
General tension and anxiety lead to tension in your muscles, whether that’s stiff necks or tight shoulders. Releasing and stretching those muscles often leads to an overall feeling of stress relief.
Increased flexibility, which will happen the more you stretch, will enable you to exercise more effectively.
Stretching over time will give your muscles tone and your body will look more slim. You only need to look at the bodies of those that practice Yoga on a regular basis.
Last but by no means least you reduce the risk of injury as you will have an improved range of motion, which in turn decreases resistance on your muscles.
Foam rolling is a great addition to your stretching routine, especially if you have a part of your body that is particularly tight, it also increases circulation and helps to lower your heart rate.
Think of stretching as a way of resetting and gaining equilibrium after putting your body through stress. Rather than seeing it as an optional part of your workout, look at stretching as part of your session, you will be maximising the benefits off all the hard work you’ve put in.