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Should You Be Stretching More?

When people in Honolulu, HI, start a workout program, they often begin with calisthenics or take up bicycling or running. Some venture into lifting weights. One area often overlooked is stretching. You can stretch to increase flexibility or use it as warm-up and cool-down exercises. Before a workout, stretching boosts circulation and warms the muscles to prepare the muscles for the task ahead. Stretching at the end of a workout acts as a cool-down exercise and also increases the range of motion while the muscles are warm and more flexible.

Stretching when you first wake up prepares your body for the day’s activities.

When you sleep, your body temperature drops. Your muscles relax completely. The first thing in the morning, you may yawn and stretch. It’s a natural reaction. The stretching warms the muscles and prepares them for use, and the yawn increases the oxygen intake in preparation for the activity. Stretching does the same thing for muscles before intense exercise. Circulation increases and sends adequate nutrients and oxygen. The muscles are more relaxed to help you perform the exercise and prevent muscle injury.

Stretching helps prevent muscle injuries.

If you don’t prepare your muscles before a workout, it can result in injury. The increased circulation increases the oxygen flow. If there isn’t an increase in oxygen, lactic acid can build up in the muscles. When you have a mild workout, the build-up is minor and clears quickly. That’s not what happens if the workout is intense or you’re out of shape. It builds to the point where the body can’t remove it quickly. If you stretch before working out and afterward, it helps with the process. When too much lactic acid builds, lactic acidosis occurs. It causes a pH imbalance that makes moving painful and increases recovery time.

Stretching can be done without other exercises to improve posture and reduce injury.

If your muscles are tight, doing simple activities like bending to tie your shoes or picking up a package can trigger pain, making every move unbearable. It can also cause bad posture that leads to difficulty breathing, constipation, heartburn, and incontinence. TMJ, a disorder of the muscles and joint in the jaw, can be caused by poor posture. It loosens the muscles and helps the body realign. Combine it with strength-building exercises to align the body and relieve many problems caused by poor posture.

  • You’ll prepare the heart for more strenuous exercise. The mild increase in circulation slowly builds the effort of the heart so it doesn’t suddenly have to go from resting to maximum effort, which can spike blood pressure.
  • Dynamic and static stretching are warm-up and cool-down exercises. Static is a cool-down exercise. It’s a stretch-and-hold exercise like toe-touching done after exercise when the muscles are warm. Dynamic exercise warms the muscles and involves movement, like lunges.
  • Stretching before doing strength-building workouts can speed the process of muscle-building. It increases the range of motion so there is fuller muscle extension and lets you work the muscles on all planes.
  • People with a desk job or sedentary lifestyle should stretch and move about once an hour. It helps prevent back pain and improves overall health.

For more information, contact us today at Hawaii Fit Camp!