Grabbing your favorite piece of fitness equipment may automatically be your first move when hitting the gym—but if it is, you’re missing a crucial step in your workout! No, we’re not talking about wiping down the treadmill or gulping down some water to keep yourself hydrated. Although these aspects are important too, you won’t want to skip out on taking a few minutes to stretch your body before training. Stretching is often overlooked by the average gym-goer but incorporating it into your routine can bring about many beneficial effects and positively impact your health!
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What does stretching do?
Generally speaking, stretching is a natural human instinct—but consciously including stretching into your fitness regimen allows your muscles to stay healthy. Stretching helps elongate muscle fibers and tendons, decreasing tension and boosting blood circulation and range of motion, all of which are critical when prepping for a workout session.
Why is stretching important?
Stretching before working out minimizes the risk of strains, pain, and muscle damage! With a simple stretching session, the muscle tissue becomes lengthened and warmed up which not only helps prevent possible injury, but also improves your body’s flexibility, stiffness, and overall strength.
What are the best stretching exercises?
Dynamic stretching is the best type of stretching to engage in prior to a workout. These types of stretches are done in conjunction with movement, activating the muscles and focusing on range of motion. If you’re unsure of where to start, a personal trainer can help you learn about active stretching and safely guide you through your stretch session.
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How often should I stretch?
The more regular stretching you incorporate into your routine, the better! Stretching is healthy to do anytime, anywhere but it’s particularly essential before every workout. Most experts recommend integrating between five and ten minutes of stretching time into your fitness schedule to ensure a proper warmup.
Are there any risks to stretching?
When done correctly, stretching is a safe practice—however, stretching should be avoided in the case of acute or chronic injuries, so you’ll want to get the green light from your doctor or physical therapist beforehand. Always remember to listen to your body and ease into your stretching routine slowly to avoid overdoing it or hurting yourself!
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