Why Stretching Should Be a Central Part of Your Workout!

Posted on April 11th, 2012 at 8:00 pm by

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I’m pleased to present a guest post from Dahn Yoga about the importance of stretching.  I must tell you I was very impressed by the comprehensive information this site contains on yoga and tai chi and I encourage all of you to check it out.  

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Stretching may be the most important part of a workout routine that many people fail to do adequately. Despite the fact that getting in a proper stretch enables you to take full advantage of your workout routine, many people view it as something to do if they start to feel particularly tight or if they have a few extra minutes at the gym. However, this should be a central part of your workout regimen, regardless of whether you’re lifting weights or running distances.

The most important reasons to stretch out before and after any vigorous exercise routine is that it prepares the muscles for activity and reduces the risk of injury. When the muscles are tight, they are less able to respond. This may hold you back in your workout. You may want to put up a few extra pounds in your bench press, but it will be difficult to do so if your muscles are tight.

Injuries are also much more common among people who do not stretch. Tight muscles lack range of motion. This means when you try to jump, pick up speed in your run or put up a few extra pounds, your tight muscles may not be able to accommodate you. When you push them too far, that’s when sprains, strains and tears happen.

The Mayo Clinic also reports that some evidence suggests that stretching improves the flow of blood to muscles. This is the main reason why you should consider stretching out after a workout. Improving blood flow can help the blood carry important nutrients and molecules to the muscles at the time when they are needed the most. Replenishing depleted muscle stores may help you maximize the effect of your workout. Otherwise, you may be spending excessive amounts of time in the gym while getting less benefit than you thought.

Stretching couldn’t be simpler, so there really is no reason why you shouldn’t be doing it on a regular basis. The main thing to keep in mind when you’re stretching is that it shouldn’t feel like you are excessively straining your muscles. You may feel like this is a necessary part of getting a good stretch, but it is not. If something feels painful you may be in danger of straining a muscle.

Just go for positions that give a gentle tug at the muscles. Simply engaging them beyond their normal resting position is enough to loosen things up a bit. As you stretch more frequently you may find that you have to start pushing positions farther. This is a good thing, as it means you are improving your range of motion.

The important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t take stretching for granted. It may not seem like the most important thing you are trying to accomplish in your workout time, but getting a good stretch before and after a workout may actually help you get the most out of your exercise routine.

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Dahn Yoga is one of the largest yoga and tai chi companies in the world with its own unique style and brand of yoga. Dahn Yoga is rooted in the rich history of an ancient Asian mind-body practice, Sun Do, and in the wisdom of the Chun Bu Kyung.

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