By Sarah Graff – Personal Fitness Trainer
Many of us struggle with stretching, considering it boring or uncomfortable. However, being reminded of a few of the major benefits may help motivate you.
- Increased Range of Motion
Stretching our muscles and fascia to the point of good tension (not pain!) on a regular basis gives us more range of motion. While it feels good to cover more ground with each step, we also gain more speed and propel ourselves forward more quickly and efficiently.
- Decreased Pain
Tight muscles not only hold tension, but also create tension on all the structures to which they are attached. This causes pain. When we are in pain, we unconsciously tense our muscles up even more. That tensing up leads to even more pain. It is a vicious cycle resulting in muscle spasm, cramping and an uncomfortable load on our joints.
- Decreased Recovery Time
When we put a muscle into a stretch and then release it, we are bringing fresh blood flow to the area. Increased blood flow brings the appropriate nutrients in to help heal any breakdown of the muscle that occurred during a workout and flushes out waste products (eg lactic acid) that build up in the muscle causing DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness).
- Increased Physical Performance
Stretching contributes to greater strength and stamina. Stretching on a regular basis increases the length of our muscles. This allows for more muscle fibers. That translates to a potentially stronger muscle. Also, muscles that are consistently placed under tension in a stretch develop greater tolerance thereby increasing our overall stamina.
Other benefits include decreased emotional stress, better posture, fewer muscle imbalances, decreased wear on joints and greater body awareness. Perhaps being reminded of these benefits will motivate you to dedicate time to a regular stretch routine. Stretching is always more fun with friends! Be sure to take full advantage of the many yoga and stretch classes offered at The Paseo Club.
Sarah Graff: Pilates & Yoga Instructor, Stretch Coach
Sarah is trained and experienced in One on One Stretching, Pilates and numerous kinds of Yoga including hot, accessible, restorative, chair, sculpt and power yoga. She is a Yoga Teacher Trainer and a Master Flexologist, training others to become yoga teachers and stretching experts. It is her passion to help each of her students improve the way they move and decrease their pain through effective physical training and stretching.