Identifying the Benefits of Flexibility & Stretching Before and After Exercise

Written by Matt Skelly, NC Personal Trainer O2 Fitness Wilmington

Today we’re talking flexibility, one of the five components of fitness.

Flexibility is important to help prevent injury and serves as a huge benefit in our everyday lives. As we grow older we begin to go through what is called muscular fibrosis. Muscular fibrosis is when connective tissue hardens over the joint which renders us less flexible.  But by stretching we can hinder the process of muscular fibrosis leaving us more limber and flexible for our everyday lives. Stretching also helps prevent injury during bouts of intense exercise.  By loosening our muscles and joints are body’s are more acceptable to more movements were as if the muscles were not warmed up and remained in a cold state the risk of injury would increase.

Recent studies have said that the best type of stretch before exercise is dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching is a technique that uses momentum through a joint but not exceeding its range of motion; for example, doing arm circles or doing high knees. This helps warm up the muscles and joints before engaging in physical activity.

After your workout routine you should always do static stretching. Static stretching is when you hold the stretch for a period of time. The longer you hold it the more the muscle will loosen up allowing you to stretch even farther to a certain degree.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you stretch at least 2 to 3 times a week. Knowing this, I hope to see you all utilizing this information and stretching more around the gym. If you need help stretching or want to know the best stretches for your goals, ask any O2 Fitness personal trainer!

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