Exercises have tremendous health value. They should be a constant in our weekly or daily routines. What I have come to discover, sadly, is that lots of people do not perform stretches. Those who do, stretch before an exercise routine. They forget to stretch after the routine.
This post is in two parts. In this first part, we will address the benefits of stretching prior to a workout or exercise routine, while the second part will highlight benefits to a post-workout routine.
One important factor to note is that the targeted muscle groups in an exercise routine are the ones that need to be stretched prior to that routine. For example, if you’re working on your lower limbs (from hip to toes), you will need to stretch the muscles of the lower limb. For more complex body mechanisms like running, you will need to do a full body stretch since the whole body is involved. This is not a difficult task, as it gets easier once we learn the benefits.
my most favourite reason to stretch before a workout is to avoid injury
- stretching helps to improve the flexibility of soft tissues thereby
improving the range of motion at the joints
improve performance in athletics
help uptake and adequate usage of oxygen by muscles
- prepare the body for a strenuous workout
The stretches before a workout or exercise routine should take the joints through their full range of motion (dynamic stretch) or aim to stretch to stretch the muscles as far as possible without moving the body (static stretch). Hold each position for 8 – 10 seconds.
N.B While there are arguments for and against the type of stretches to be done before exercising, it is best to keep in mind that not stretching at all is no good to the body