Stretching After Exercise Can Improve Your Health and Decrease Your Risk of Injury!
Have you decided to skip stretching after exercise? After a good workout it may be tempting to just hit the couch and take it easy.
Your workout, however, isn’t quite finished. A proper cool down is necessary and this would include different types of stretching.
Some people think that stretching is an unnecessary part of exercising. The truth is that stretching is a necessary component of exercise.
Can some simple physical motions dramatically improve your overall health, wellness, and quality of life? In the case of stretching, the answer is most definitely yes. Stretching exercises are a staple of physical therapy for just that reason.
If you haven’t been stretching after a workout you may be experiencing problems with your muscles and joints.
You may not be aware of what the best stretches are after a workout. Call our office for information on how you can stretch correctly after exercise.
3 reasons why you should stretch after exercise
The following are three specific reasons why you shouldn’t skip stretching after exercising:
1. Reducing lactic acid – The body produces lactic acid whenever you exercise, which contributes to sore, achy muscles. Stretching can help reduce the accumulation of lactic acid throughout the body. It also relaxes tense muscles.
2. Improving heart function – Exercise gets your blood flowing which provides several important health benefits. It’s just as important, however, to get your heart rate back to a normal level after the workout is over. Stretching correctly will help your heart return to a normal rate in a healthy manner.
3. Avoiding muscle and joint strain – Stretching in the correct way can limit the strain on your muscles and joints. It will help your muscles stay flexible and toned. This will ultimately reduce the chance of injury after exercising.
What are the risks of not stretching?
After a workout you may not feel the need to stretch if your muscles aren’t aching or sore. You may just not want to take the time to do it.
But there are several potential effects of not taking the time to stretch correctly after exercise. You might experience stiffness if you’re not stretching adequately.
Muscles and tendons that aren’t stretched properly after exercise may be more susceptible to injury. If you already have an injury the Mayo Clinic advises adjusting your stretching routine.
It’s also important to not only make sure you’re stretching after exercise, but that you’re doing the right types of stretches.
How are stretching and physical therapy related?
Stretching typically involves the connective tissue, a muscle or a tendon. The goal of stretching is to improve range of motion, flexibility, and muscle elasticity. The five most common stretching exercises are:
- Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF)
- Low Load
A physical therapist can teach you different methods for stretching more effectively. Move Forward states that stretching is an important part of exercise recovery, yet it usually doesn’t get the attention or time it deserves.
A physical therapy program that is created to meet your unique needs can help you learn to stretch correctly after exercise. A trained physical therapist can teach you the best stretching techniques whether you’re a regular athlete or just getting in occasional exercise.
Stretching after exercising can help keep your muscles and joints in top condition. It’s important to find a qualified physical therapist that can teach you a variety of stretches.
If you’re struggling with muscle and joint pain caused from lack of stretching it can also help to visit a physical therapist. Stretches taught by a therapist can increase your flexibility, reduce injuries, and may even improve your athletic performance.
Physical therapy and improved health
Stretching provides numerous benefits to help your body keep itself healthier. One of the most important of these is stress relief. Everyday life throws lots of challenges at you, and the resulting stress can be held in your muscles.
This leads to tightness, spasms, and chronic discomforts such as headaches and neck pain. Stress also floods your body with “fight or flight” hormones such as cortisone and adrenaline. These imbalances can suppress your immune function, making you more vulnerable to viruses and other diseases. Hypertension is yet another dangerous consequence of chronic stress.
Regular stretches help your body release all that pent-up stress. By relaxing and loosening your muscles, you can maintain better control over your blood pressure, avoid chronic muscle pain, and keep your immune system ready for anything.
Contact us for more assistance
Contact Zoan Physical Therapy today for a free consultation to learn how we can help create the best stretching routine for your fitness level.