Most of the time for a lot of people, their muscles are relaxed – you sit on a chair, you drive to work and you go up in an elevator. You barely exercise your muscles. So when you go out for a trek or play a sport or just jog, don’t be surprised if your muscles feel tight and become stiff even possibly cramp. When you don’t stretch before you play a sport and exert your body, you are likely to injure yourself. There is a reason you see athletes take a jog and stretch their bodies before playing a game. It’s called a warm up. Stretching allows your muscles to relax and contract which helps in loosening them up.
You should consider stretching your body too before you hit the playing field. By stretching, you can prevent simple sprains, cramps and even any chances of muscle and ligament tears.
Stretching increases the blood flow and supply of nutrients to the muscles. Just like you taking a deep breath of air to get oxygen, stretching will help your muscles get the nutrients and prepare it for the exertion you are about to do. It refreshes your muscles by giving oxygen and taking away the waste products produced by the muscle. It also helps reduce muscle soreness.
In sports, your reflexes need to be at the peak condition, so that you can react fast. You never know when you’ll have to dodge a tackle or make a miraculous dive so your team can win. As you grow older and the less you exercise, your muscles slowly become shorter and tighter, reducing your flexibility. Stretching will help you lose any stiffness you have around your joints, muscles and tendons, helping your body to stay lose throughout your activity what ever it may be
Range of Motion
Stretching allows you to have a better range of motion in your joints. This will help you to move swiftly across the playing field and assures a quick reflex if you are suddenly faced with an obstacle. Stretching greatly improves the range of motion throughout your body. It is very important in your joints that provide your body with very dynamic movements such as your calves, hamstrings, quads,glutes, back as well as a multitude of other muscle groups.
Improves Balance and Co-ordination
Maintaining balance and coordination is very important in any exercise or sport. It will help lower the risk of falling and help enhance the coordination between your muscles. Stretching will greatly improve coordination in musculo-skeletal parts of your body.
Deals with Lower Back Pain
The muscles of the lower back, hamstrings, hips and buttocks are usually stiff and can cause soreness. Stretching is a simple exercise which is great for dealing with lower back pain. This would also help greatly in working with your posture.
Keeping your body oxygenated is very important. A lot of stretching activity requires your chest to expand and take in a lung full of air. You need your stamina to be at its peak condition to work, so you can sprint for a long time.
Imagine that you are running the marathon and all of a sudden your muscles tighten, sending spasms of pain through your body. That is how a cramp works – no warning, all of a sudden followed by a severe pain.
Now imagine that you are running a hundred meter race and your closest competitor is only a few inches behind you. So your leg stretches out further than it usually would and then suddenly pain rips through your leg muscle ligament. That may be a muscle tear.
Such situations can be avoided by stretching. If you don’t stretch before you exercise, you may be in for a painful experience.