We’re all very diligent at starting a workout, slowly warming up our muscles to get them ready to perform without injuries. What we easily neglect when we finish is cooling down and stretching our muscles.
The benefits of stretching post-workout are manifold, and we’re going to take a look at how it can help increase your flexibility, decrease potential muscle tension, and significantly reduce the risk of injury.
Remember that stretching should be avoided during warm-ups and only be done when your muscles are warm. When warming up, you can slowly enact the movements you’re planning to include in your sport, training, or exercise routine.
10 Benefits of Stretching Post-Workout
It Gradually Slows Down Your Body
If you push your body to the extreme during physical training, it can leave you feeling drained and tired. Stretching while using calming breathing techniques will help you feel relaxed, and the extra oxygen allows you to feel more rested. You maximize your workout’s effectiveness when you gradually slow down your body instead of coming to an abrupt halt.
It Increases Your Muscle Coordination
One of the benefits of stretching is that it enhances muscle coordination. If you’re participating in strength training, this is incredibly beneficial. You give tired muscles more functional mobility when you stretch, and it allows them to adjust appropriately.
Stretching Improves Your Range of Motion
The most significant part of a gymnast’s training includes various stretches. It’s what allows them to use their muscles to their full capacity. If you don’t stretch, your muscles remain constricted and can’t reach their full range of motion. When you stretch warm muscles, you increase their capacity. If you implement post-workout stretching, you’ll see an overall improvement as you can use your muscles and tendons to reach their maximum range.
It Gives You Increased Flexibility
Increased and enhanced flexibility of different muscle groups is one of the foremost benefits of stretching warm muscles. When you do it, your contracted and constricted muscles release back to a more natural state, which increases comfort after a strenuous workout. It also increases flexibility, which helps prevent injuries. If you consistently stretch post-workout, your body will become more flexible. It’ll be easier to stand up straight, squat, bend, and perform an array of more complex exercises. Runners who properly stretch after long runs have increased endurance and muscle power.
Stretching Removes Lactic Acid
When you train your body, it produces the lactic acid that’s responsible for your sore and tired muscles the next day. When you stretch directly post-workout, it eliminates the lactic acid built up in your muscles. You’ll have less discomfort the following day and be able to get back into your next training cycle with greater ease.
It Improves Your Blood Circulation
While you’re participating in a strenuous workout, your heart rate increases and pumps blood throughout your entire body faster. When you cool down after training, this flow helps bring your heart rate back to normal. As you reduce your heart rate and allow your body to break down the lactic acid build-up, it speeds up muscle recovery and repair. Stretching in this instance increases the normal blood flow to your muscles.
Increased Energy Levels
If you make stretching a part of your daily workout routine, you’ll notice a more consistent and steady flow of energy. Your brain releases endorphins – natural feel-good chemicals – while cooling down. It can last many hours, and it’s one of the reasons why exercising and stretching in the mornings boosts your day. It prepares you to face any challenge head-on with more energy.
Stretching Prevents Pain
It’s not all about eliminating your post-workout pain. If you’re upping the intensity of your training regularly, you’ll still feel discomfort. But no pain, no gain. Stretching helps to reduce and minimize your aches. Keep in mind that if you’re experiencing pain, it’s due to stiff muscles, and you’re at risk of injury. Stretching as part of your workout routine decreases your overall discomfort and helps protect you against injuries.
It Can Improve Your Posture and Reduce Back Pain
When your muscles are stiff, it can affect your posture as you’re overcompensating by bending over to prevent discomfort. If you properly stretch out your muscles, it’ll help improve your posture and prevent back pain associated with intense training.
Increased Mind-Body Connection and Clarity
Stretching offers you more than just physical benefits: it helps you to relax and relieves stress. It harmonizes your body and mind as you’re more aware of your body and each muscle and joint.
Let’s Wrap it Up
Our bodies can be a finely tuned machine if we’re conscious of all it needs to function to its fullest potential. If we recognize that it needs winding down after training as much as it needs warming up prior, we can feel better overall and push it to even higher limits.