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Why Stretching Matters

Easy Movements Bring Big Benefits
-- By Jen Mueller, Certified Personal Trainer

As you age though adulthood, your muscles tighten and the range of motion in the joints can be decreased. This can put a damper on active lifestyles and even hinder day-to-day, normal motions. Tasks that used to be simple, such as zipping up a dress or reaching for a can off of the top shelf, now become more difficult. A regular stretching program can help lengthen your muscles and make daily living activities easier. 

Everyone can learn to stretch, regardless of age or flexibility level. Stretching should be a part of your daily routine, whether you exercise or not. There are simple stretches you can do while watching TV, facing the computer, or getting ready for bed. If you are doing strength training exercises, stretch in between sets. It feels good and saves time from stretching at the end of the workout! 

A flexibility program does not have to involve a huge time commitment, but stretching can end up giving you huge results! Here are just a few of the benefits you can expect from a regular stretching program:
  • Reduced muscle tension
  • Injury prevention
  • Increased range of movement in the joints
  • Enhanced muscular coordination
  • Increased circulation of the blood to various parts of the body
  • Increased energy levels (resulting from increased circulation)
Stretching is important for people of all ages and fitness levels! One of the greatest benefits of stretching is that you’re able to increase the length of both your muscles and tendons. This leads to an increased range of movement, which means your limbs and joints can move further before an injury occurs. Stretching can help to prevent an injury by promoting recovery and decreasing soreness, and ensure that your muscles and tendons are in good working order. The more conditioned your muscles and tendons are, the better they can handle the rigors of sport and exercise, and the less likely that they'll become injured. 

Stretching comes naturally to all of us. You might notice that if you have been sitting in a particular position for a long time, you stretch unconsciously. It feels good! In addition to that good feeling, a consistent stretching program will produce large gains in flexibility and joint movement. Be kind to your muscles and they will be kind to you!

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Member Comments About this Article
"I encourage all pregnant women out there to check out prenatal yoga. I'm 36 weeks pregnant, started prenatal yoga around 22 weeks and find that I have less back pain, can tie my own shoes and have better balance than before I was pregant" -- MIAMISTARR
"this will really come in handy! :]" -- CASSTEMP34
"I don't always have the time, energy or desire to exercise but I always do myself the favor of stretching. I commute an hour each day to work and then back home. I have a desk job. Without frequent stretching I'd be miserable! So I agree wholeheartedly with this article." -- JOSHEDA
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About The Author
Jen Mueller
Jen received her master's in health promotion and education from the University of Cincinnati. As a certified personal trainer, she also holds a certification in prenatal and postpartum exercise. Jen has two children and enjoys running marathons.

 


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