Not enough can be said about the importance of a good stretch before, and after exercise. Usually, this is one element of a workout that gets ignored, skipped or simply overlooked.
Before exercise a stretch can be viewed as a warm up, while after exercise it becomes a cool down process. Stretching makes the body more pliable and flexible, thus better preparing it for the impact of a workout on your muscles.
Pre workout warm up
Exercising cold muscles can result in injuries, which is why it is important to stretch as a teaser before exercise. Stretch for a time till you feel the muscles graduating away from their inactive state throughout the day. “Ideally, every stretch should target the muscles we are aiming to engage during that particular session. For example, if you are planning to workout the legs, you can exclude stretching the arms that day,” says Manoj, a trainer at a city gym, “Stretching also increases blood circulation, which in turn allows proper supply of nutrients to the muscles.”
The deal with ensuring nutrient supply to the body is as explained by Manoj, “When we exercise, a lot of energy is expended, requiring nutrients to keep us going. To ensure that this consumption of nutrients doesn’t empty our energy reservoir, increased blood circulation aids a constant supply of essential nutrients.” Stretching is a good way of warning your body about the impending strenuous exercises.
Stretching helps increase flexibility of the body, making it easier for you to workout and try those complex body moves. Simply put, when you are flexible, you are able to move with ease, as opposed to when your muscles are stiff.
Since working out involves performing contractions with muscles, it leaves them compressed. Stretching helps restore the muscles to their normal state. Post exercise stretching helps the body cool down and also slows down the heart rate that was elevated during the session. Stretching after a workout helps restore balance in the body.