Why & How Stretching Increases Performance

Odelle Joubert

Stretching, the forgotten or avoided essential of training.
Flexibility training is an important, yet often overlooked component of fitness.

“It’s not enough to increase strength and build aerobic fitness. You need to think about flexibility, too. When included as part of a well-rounded fitness routine, regular flexibility training, which includes dynamic stretching, can help enhance agility, power, speed and muscular strength.”

Stretching retains agility in the ligaments and tendons as well as keeps the muscles flexible. Being flexible allows the muscles to get stronger and maintain a range of motion in the joints. Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight which means you use more energy to move. Then, when you require the muscles for any activity, they are weaker and unable to extend all the way. This creates a higher rate for joint pain, strains and muscle damage.

When muscles become tight, opposing muscles become weakened, creating wear and tear on joint and structures in the body. Suppleness allows for optimal movement and less stress on the body. It will also build agility which keeps the muscles long, lean, and flexible. This means that what every activity you are doing won’t put too much force or exertion on the muscle itself

Various types of stretching as well as other supportive self-care strategies, such as self-myofascial releasing using a foam roller, can help to enhance unrestricted movement of the major joints of the body, including key areas that are designed to be mobile, such as the hips and shoulders.

Incorporating static stretching will help decrease stiffness, reduce pain levels and may even reduce the frequency and severity of muscle cramps. Dynamic stretches should be used as part of a warm-up to help increase core body temperature and functionally prepare the body for the movements that are to come.
Stretching is not only beneficial for better performance it will also help increase longevity and enhance overall quality of life.

Flexible ligaments, joints and muscles also help with balance which is another essential ingredient to athletic performance and a healthy lifestyle.

Here are 7 reasons why you should be stretching on a regular basis

1.Enhanced performance
2.Minimized wear and tear on joints
3.Reduced pain and stiffness
4.Enhanced range of motion
5.Reduce risk of injury
6.Improved function using less energy
7.Decreased stress

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