10 Great Reasons to Stretch

Stretching is one thing that I personally neglect or skip from time to time even though I know how important it is. My goal is to stretch at least 10 minutes a day. Read more for 10 great reasons to stretch daily!

10 Great Reasons To Stretch

10 Great Reasons to Stretch

1. Post-exercise cool-down

If you do stretch, most likely it is after a workout. This is great to prevent those post-exercise aches and pains. Post-exercise stretching will help keep your muscles loose. I make the huge mistake of walking and then just stopping, even when I know my muscles are tight. Stretching would help loosen them up.

2. Reduce or Prevent Injury

When you stretch you are improving or increasing your muscle elasticity and gaining a greater range of motion, thus helping prevent injuries to tendons, ligaments, and muscles. The better you can perform exercises, the less risk of injury. You may not see the results from stretching like you go strength training, but stretching does serve many purposes.

3. Reduce Stress

I am writing this blog post AFTER I did my stretching. I can tell it helped reduce my stress (and Monday was not a happy day). If you stretch your muscles well, they will hold less tension. This in turns helps you feel less stressed. Don’t forget if you have a desk job to stand up and stretch every now and then. I often try to reach to the ceiling and then touch my toes (more on that below).

4. Increase Flexibility

One reason I decided to start my new stretching routine is I realized I can’t touch my toes. And I know I could touch them just last year. Luckily flexibility is something that anyone (regardless of gender, race, or age) can obtain. I am super tight in my hip flexors which is one of the reasons for not being able to reach my toes. With consistent effort, this can be corrected. And, it is something I can measure on a daily basis.

5. Improve range of motion

Stretching will increase your range of motion through decreasing muscle stiffness. Why can’t I touch my toes? Because I can’t bend forward that far. Once I decrease the stiffness in my hips, I will have a better range of motion. We concentrate so much on activities like running, strength training, etc. that we neglect stretching. Improving the range of motion may also slow the degeneration of your joints. As you get older, everything stiffens and loses elasticity. This means you will lose your range of motion and possibly have trouble with everyday activities later in life. STRETCH NOW!

6. Improve or Enhance performance

Stretching will not only help your performance in activities like running, sports, etc.; but will help in your everyday life. I know that when I am stiff, my joints act up. The more flexible I am, the better. With so many sports, it is important to be agile. With flexibility comes agility.

7. Reduce or Decrease Low-Back Pain

Flexibility in the hamstrings, hip flexors and muscles attached to the pelvis relieves stress on the lumbar spine which in turn reduces the risk of low-back pain. How many times have you complained of lower back pain? A little stretching can go a long way to prevent this.

8. Improve or Increase Circulation

Stretching increases blood supply to the muscles and joints which allow for greater nutrient transportation and improves the circulation of blood through the entire body. Yoga is a great form of prolonged stretching. Yoga, combined with aerobic exercise and a healthy diet has been known to reduce cholesterol, reverse hardening of the arteries by as much as 20%, and help lower the number on the scale. I need to make it a point to take at least 1 yoga class a week OR find a great yoga routine I can do at home.

9. Reduce muscle tension

Stretching helps by decreasing your delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS),  reduces soreness by decreasing the build-up of lactic acid in your muscles and can also help prevent muscles (like your calves) from cramping. I know I get a LOT of calf cramps. I am hoping that my new stretching routine will, in time, reduce the muscle tightness I experience in my calves when walking.

10. Improve posture

Many of us walk around hunched over, probably without even knowing it. Stretching the muscles of your lower back, shoulders, and chest will help keep your back in better alignment which will help improve your posture.

Don’t these all sound like fabulous reasons to stretch? I honestly did not know all of this until I started doing some research. Now I feel it is even more important to stretch every day, even if it is a planned rest day.

Best Time To Stretch

The ideal time to stretch is when your muscles are warm. Either after your exercise or a warm-up activity (say 5 minutes on the elliptical). You need to give your muscles a chance to warm up and become more flexible. Injuries can occur when you try to stretch a cold muscle. Hold stretches for approximately 20 seconds.

Here is a great infographic of twelve stretching exercises to cover the entire body. This is what I follow!


Graphic Source: goodbyebabylon.tumblr.com

10 Great Reasons To Stretch. Don't forget or skip this important part of your workout! Click To Tweet

Looking for a workout to try? Consider this Dirty Dozen Arm Workout or this 16 minute H.I.I.T. workout.

What are some of your favorite stretches? Do you have a stretching routine you follow?

Happy Stretching!

33 Responses to “10 Great Reasons to Stretch”

    dont be me dont be me 🙂 and wait till AFTER the pain comes!

  2. I can attest to the benefits. Earlier this year I started stretching consistently after workouts/running and now I stretch daily whether I worked out or not. Nothing that takes too long and very basic targeting from neck to feet. Easy to do while watching TV 🙂

  3. I adore/NEED #6 as my glutes are so tight from running. I love the dynamic stretching routine shown in Chi Running.

  4. Ugh.. I need to stretch more… sooo not flexible.. working on it. Great tips!!

  5. I struggle with stretching, always making excuses or just forgetting about it even when I know I need to make it a priority. This is a great reminder of all the benefits!

  6. Great list! I stretch, Foam roll and everything else now a days.. i’ve noticed a major difference in my recovery and just overall mobility since i started.

  7. I personally find that including a cool down in my workout is much more important than stretching, but I love to stretch, so I usually include it all the same! My favorite are hamstring stretches…they also get my lower back a little too, which feels great.

  8. All very good reasons!

    I’ve suffered from lower back-pain in the past year and tender achilles. That said, I’ve been stretching a lot more (like A LOT more). Both before and after my work-outs. I’m been doing trail runs and am happy to say that I haven’t had any injuries…yet. Hope I manage to keep it that way 🙂

  9. I stink at stretching… I regret it every time that I don’t do it, and I know I need to. Great points you made. Especially for my lower back. I know I feel better when I do!

  10. These are awesome tips! Stretching is so important, and is one way to avoid injuries. I need to make more time for my pre-workout stretches especially

  11. I definitely don’t have a stretching routine I follow, but I totally should. I couldn’t agree more than stretching reduces stress. I just did a yoga routine at home this past weekend and felt rejuvenated all day!

  12. My limited range of motion is part of what led to my back injury. I’m working hard to stretch every day now, but it’s definitely a habit I still have to work at a lot.

  13. Great reminder. Even though I am a fascial stretch therapist and I teach a stretching class, I still need to be reminded to stretch.

  14. This post was such a great reminder – I’m terrible at remembering to stretch regularly. As soon as I read the part about posture and walking around hunched over, I immediately sat up in my chair and stretched a bit! 🙂

  15. I love that you mentioned WHEN to stretch! It is so SO important to stretch after your muscles have been warned up! I see so many people in the gym stretching first thing before they even get moving!! Cold muscles are like a stiff rubberband that is stretched too far and snaps! Eek!

  16. I learned the hard way how important it is to stretch after a run or strength training. Great post Glenneth!