The Advantages Of Proper Stretching (And How Improper Stretching Can Hurt)

Stretching is a fundamental part of good fitness routines and overall wellness. There are many benefits to stretching, but what most important is that the stretches are done right! With good technique and by taking it slow, you can get the full benefits of proper stretching routines – here are the advantages you can expect and how improper stretching can counter their effects!

The Different Types Of Stretching

Before you begin stretching your muscles, know that not all stretches are the same! There are three main kinds: dynamic, static, and fascial stretching. 

 

  • Dynamic stretching involves moving through your entire range of motion without keeping an end position, mimicking the movements of the workout. You can use it before any exercise routine to warm up the body and get the muscles ready to work.
  • Static stretching involves lengthening a specific muscle until you feel tension, then holding that position. Static stretches are best after a workout to help relieve muscle fatigue and decrease recovery time. It’s sometimes referred to as maintenance stretching, as you should incorporate it into the cool-down routine to help prevent injury.
  • Fascial stretching is a form of static stretching that targets the body’s fascial networks, a connective tissue that encases the muscles, joints, organs, and more. It can be used to correct the compounded effects of poor posture, injuries, and muscular imbalances.


Choosing the proper technique is essential to gaining the advantages of stretching – and proper stretching brings many benefits! 

Proper Stretching Keeps You Flexible

Good, regular stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, something desperately needed in a world of desk jobs. Sitting down all day results in tight, shortened muscles, including the hamstrings in the back of the thigh. It’s a problem that makes it more difficult to extend your limbs and straighten joints like the knee all the way, inhibiting your range of motion. When you call on the muscles for activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way. That puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.

How Does Improper Stretching Hurt This Goal?

We need muscle and joint flexibility to keep up our range of motion in the joints, and proper stretching achieves this. Improper stretching, where you feel pain, can build up tension in the muscles, making it almost impossible for muscles and joints to relax.

Proper Stretching Exercises Prevent Injury

When you suddenly use tight, shortened muscles for a strenuous activity that stretches them, such as playing a sport, the sudden stretching can damage them. Injured muscles may not be strong enough to support the joints, which can lead to joint injury.

How Does Improper Stretching Hurt This Goal?

Overstretching is a real problem for those who don’t know proper techniques or apply static stretches to every activity. It can lead to muscle injuries like strains, which is an overexerting of the tendon that attaches the muscle to bone.

Stretching Can Feel Good, Too!

On top of the physical benefits, proper stretching can have many mental benefits. It activates your parasympathetic nervous system, a part of your nervous system that controls activities while your body is at rest. Stretching also increases blood flow to your muscles, and research suggests that it may release endorphins that help reduce pain and enhance mood!

How Does Improper Stretching Hurt This Goal?

A sign of improper stretching is pain, as exerting too much energy or going too deep into a stretch can lead to torn muscles. While stretching can feel slightly uncomfortable at first, it should never hurt. Even proper techniques can be pushed past a body’s limits, so you should remember to stay in your natural range of motion. If you notice tightness in a muscle area, repeat your stretches multiple times without pushing too hard.

There are so many benefits to proper stretching, and doing it regularly keeps muscles long, lean, and flexible. Exertion through exercise and athletics won’t put too much force on the tissue itself. Healthy muscles also help a person with balance problems to avoid falls. If you need help or guidance, consult Scott Shaheen Personal Training!

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