Smart Fitness: The Importance of Stretching

Shoulder ExercisesUnfortunately, as we age, a decrease in muscle flexibility and poor joint range of motion is likely to occur. While some individuals may view this process as inevitable, it doesn’t necessarily have to be. In fact, with regular participation in a structured flexibility program, muscles can become longer, looser, and more flexible, increasing one’s ability to perform day-to-day activities.

In addition to decreasing the difficulty associated with performing activities of daily living, starting a regular flexibility program can lead to reduced tension in sore muscles, greater energy levels, and improved coordination. In addition, some individuals who start stretching regimens may experience an improvement in their range of motion or increased blood circulation to the extremities. It is important to remember that benefits associated with stretching will vary quite substantially from person to person. While some individuals may experience dramatic improvements in a specific component of their health, others may notice small changes in a number of areas.

Stretching is often associated with active teenagers or young adults who participate in athletic competitions. While there is no question that these individuals can benefit from stretching, improved flexibility can be beneficial for people of any age. In fact, most experts agree that regular stretching should be part of one’s daily routine, regardless of age or activity level. Depending on personal preference, stretches can be done in the morning, in the evening, or throughout the course of the day. Individuals who walk, jog, or participate in other types of cardiovascular or muscular endurance training are often encouraged to stretch after the completion of these types of activities. Post-exercise stretching can be an effective way to decrease soreness associated with physical activities, and ensure they will be ready for future use.

Obviously, stretching is an important activity that can have numerous health benefits. Stretching not only feels good, but is essential for maintaining muscular health and endurance. Individuals who have questions about proper stretching techniques may want to consider consultation with a physical therapist or exercise physiologist. In most cases, these individuals will be able to provide tips and recommendations designed to ensure safety and optimal results when starting a structured daily stretching routine.