For steady weight loss and a perfectly toned body, we need a balanced workout routine of cardio, freehand exercises and strength training. But one thing most of us often miss out on, especially if we are armature fitness enthusiasts, is stretching.
Flexibility training or stretching has a number of short- and long-term benefits. It not only increases the flexibility of our body, it also relieves us from stress and increase blood circulation
According to Harvard Medical School, stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy and is very important if you want to avoid joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.
"A lot of people don't understand that stretching has to happen on a regular basis. It should be daily," says David Nolan, a physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.
Moreover, if you are someone whose aim is to lose weight, it is high time you invest some time learning and performing some stretching exercises. Stretching prepares your body for more strenuous exercises that help to lose those extra kilos. Since mostly all strength-training and aerobic exercises are actually contraction and flexion of muscles, stretching ensures that no injury is made to the body while performing them, according to livestrong.com.
How, what and when to stretch?
Nolan says that stretching muscles is critical for mobility like your calves, hamstrings, hip flexors in the pelvis and quadriceps in the front of the thigh is of utmost importance. Moreover, shoulders muscles, neck, and lower back can sometimes get stiff and little attention towards them is desirable.
Stretching should be done before and after exercising. Yes, you heard that right. Lengthening your muscles after a rigorous workout session is necessary to prevent soreness and fatigue due to lactic acid builds up, according to fitday.com.
The benefits don't end her rather stretching is way more rewarding that you can ever imagine. According to acefitness.org, stretching exercises, such as PNF stretching, static stretching, and yoga can actually help you to reduce blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rate and helps you deal with stress and muscular tension in a better way.
Regular stretching can also enhance agility, power, speed and muscular strength, reported the website.