Should you include stretching in your exercise workout?
This is still a commonly debated question. Some will argue that stretching has no benefits at all whilst others will argue that exercise should not be carried out without some form of stretching.
Most benefits of stretching have been proven scientifically and indeed, as Osteopaths who have seen many exercise related injuries, we also believe in the benefits.
Contrary to beliefs, you do not need to spend a huge amount of time stretching and in fact 10-15 minutes stretching can provide you with the following benefits:
Posture is incredibly important when it comes to performance and injury prevention. Stretching can help improve this. How? Stretching enables you to build up the strength in auxiliary muscles that may otherwise be neglected. Stretching can also help release tight muscles, which of course can impact on your posture, as well as help alleviate postural induced pain.
Exercises such as running mean that your muscles and tendons are working in a repetitive way, which in some cases can lead to injury. By adding stretching into your workout, you are causing the muscles and tendons to move differently, which can help build and increase body strength and reduce your chances of injury.
Balance and coordination
Balance and coordination can be affected by tight muscles following exercise and, as we have already discussed, stretching can help reduce this.
Many exercises such as running can restrict your movement and have a negative impact on your flexibility. We often find that many runners have a reduced level of flexibility, which can result in pain and stiffness. We find that including stretching within your exercise programme can actually help increase your range of motion and therefore your flexibility.
Releases lactic acid
The slow build-up of lactic acid following a workout can be extremely uncomfortable and may actually lead to cramp. Light stretching can help speed up the release of the lactic acid and in turn improve your recovery post of during your workout.
A recent study has shown that static stretching can promote improved blood flow, which means more oxygen will reach the muscles and help aid your performance.
For more information or advice please speak to our team directly.
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