Stretching is an essential part of a complete exercise program. However, many people skip it, thinking they don't have enough time or it's not very important.
Here's Why It's Important:
Stretching offers many benefits, like improving your flexibility, range of motion, and circulation. Stretching may also help to lower your stress level. Advocates for stretching recommend the activity to reduce sports-related injuries, but not all studies have come to this conclusion. Researchers are still exploring how stretching impacts exercise.
Here's How to Stretch:
Two general types of stretching include dynamic stretching, where the joint is moved through full range, and static stretching, where the joint is held at end range of movement. To stretch your muscles you can either do individual stretching exercises for each muscle group or you can do total body stretching routines.
Major muscle groups to stretch include:
- Back muscles
- Neck muscles
- Leg muscles: hamstrings, quadriceps, calf muscles
- Chest muscles
- Buttocks and hip muscles