Stretching is just as crucial to a healthy lifestyle as proper diet and exercise, yet most of us are hard-pressed to participate in regular stretching. Exercise and weight training are great for the body but can limit your muscles flexibility and lead to injury. Stretching prevents muscles from pulling and opens the body up to a world of amazing benefits.
Reasons to stretch:
- Protects the muscles and joints from injury
- Improves posture
- Facilitates post-workout recovery
- Gives your body and mind a moment to relax, improving your quality of life
In an ideal world, you would participate in full-body stretches several times a week either by yourself or through a guided yoga class. However, on weeks you find yourself caught in the rush, at least take the time to stretch problem areas. Focus on tight muscles and joints surrounding the hip, knee or back. Listen to your body to determine which areas need the most amount of love and concentrate on those.
Stretching cold muscles may lead to injury, so consider stretching after your workout or following a warmup. Participating in regular post-workout stretching may also aid in recovery, making the muscles less sore.
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