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11 Benefits of Stretching That Will Make Anyone Want to Move Their Body

Writer: JENNY MCCOY | Outlet: Self

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Stretching is one component of fitness that a lot of us find way too easy to skip. But there are some benefits of stretching that might just make you want to add it to your routine.


While the research on stretching is a bit mixed, there are some legit mental and physical benefits to incorporating it into your routine, whether you stretch pre-workout, at the end of your session, or another time during the day People who make time for stretching may find it helps their workouts—and daily life—feel a little (or a lot) better.


But before we dig into those benefits, it can be helpful to understand what exactly we mean by stretching.


Stretching is basically any movement that lengthens your muscles (and along with them, the tendons, ligaments, and connective tissue) even temporarily, physical therapist and strength coach Ivan Hernandez, D.P.T., C.S.C.S., owner of Executive Park PT and Wellness in New York, tells SELF. Pretty much every time you move your body, something is getting stretched, Candace Harding, D.P.T., a physical therapist and registered yoga teacher in Vienna, Virginia, tells SELF.


To get a little more specific though, there are several different types of stretches. Static stretches involve moving into an end range of motion and then holding that position, physical therapist and strength coach Ravi Patel, D.P.T., C.S.C.S., founder of Impact Health and Performance in Atlanta, tells SELF. Examples of static stretches include pulling your heel to your butt and holding it there to stretch your quad, or bending and pulling your elbow overhead to stretch your tricep.


Dynamic stretches, on the other hand, involve active, controlled movements performed through a larger range of motion, physical therapist Cydni Matsuoka, D.P.T., C.S.C.S., from SPEAR Physical Therapy in New York City, tells SELF. Think: walking lunges, arm circles, and deep squats. Oftentimes dynamic stretches are done pre-workout as a way to prepare your muscles, tendons, and ligaments for exercise, she explains.


Physical Benefits of Stretching

  1. Stretching improves flexibility
  2. Stretching can help you better recruit your muscles when working out
  3. Stretching makes day-to-day life feel easier
  4. Stretching primes you for your workout
  5. Stretching may decrease your risk of injury
  6. Stretching helps calm you body after exercise
  7. Stretching can pinpoint bodily imbalances
  8. Stretching can improve achiness

Mental Benefits of Stretching

  1. Stretching helps you relax
  2. Stretching serves as an act of self-care
  3. Stretching ends your workout on a positive note

Tips to keep in mind when Stretching

  1. When you stretch matters
  2. Certain stretches are more effective for certain workouts
  3. You don't have to hold your stretches for ages
  4. Stretching shouldn't hurt, and is generally safe
  5. Stretching isn't a magic solution to your fitness goals