Stretching before and after working out is often forgotten to anyone returning to an exercise regimen.

Many people don’t think they have time to stretch the right way or they just don’t know how to do it properly. In this blog post, we’ll give you a quick overview of why stretching is important for most people, especially those exercising regularly, and how to effectively warm-up and cool down.

Anna Munoz, Lead Product Specialist at DJO Global, a medical device company, explains what happens to your body if your stretch is skipped.

“Imagine a rubber band that just sits on your desk unused. The minute you go to try and extend that band it almost always snaps in half. Our muscles are comparable to a rubber band. The more you use the rubber band the more flexible and stronger the band remains.”

When you take the time to stretch or warm-up properly, blood flow to the muscles increases. This increased blood flow makes the muscles more flexible and less prone to strains. Stretching can also help improve the range of motion in joints and muscles.

There are two kinds of stretching: static and dynamic. There are proper times to utilize static and dynamic stretching. A static stretch generally means holding a single position for a few seconds (15-60 sec), as shown in the image below.

On the other end of the spectrum is dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching means doing exercises that move the body as you stretch. Below is a video to an effective warm-up routine to consider:

After working out, it’s important to cool down with more stretching. Stretching the muscles after using them helps reduce soreness and pain. Stretching can also help your muscles recover faster after a workout. Try this routine to help your body cool down:

Like we mentioned at the beginning of this post, stretching can help avoid injury and muscle soreness. Since strained muscles account for most exercise injuries, having a simple stretching routine can help you reach your fitness goals with less injuries.

If you’d like to learn more about which stretching program would most benefit you, we recommend to stop in to see one of our therapists and learn what would be best for your individual situation!