3 reasons you need to stretch more

26 June 2015 by
First published: 28 June 2015

When we’re pushed for time, many of us pass on a long post-workout cool-down, but here are 3 reasons you need to stretch more.

Stretching has lots of benefits: it’s a relaxing experience and a great way to wind down after a session. Alongside this it helps improve flexibility and balance, keeps your spine healthy and builds and elongates muscles.

As well as enhancing exercise performance, a post-workout stretch can actually help with everyday issues caused by lifestyle factors. During the day muscles become shortened due to sitting down hunched over in front of a computer for long periods of time. Including post-workout stretching to your exercise programme will aid the prevention of this kind of muscle imbalance that will help you avoid discomfort or pain.


Here’s why you should make the time.


  1. To prevent injury

When you stretch you are maintaining and developing your flexibility, increasing your muscle elasticity and gaining a greater range of motion. A flexible body means that you’re less likely to injure your muscles, tendons and ligaments.

Personal trainer Hannah Goodman says, “Post-workout stretches can be a combination of maintenance and developmental movements. Maintenance stretches are held for 10-15 seconds; they help the body maintain a good range of movement for everyday living and performing routine tasks like bending down to do up your shoe laces. Developmental stretches are held for a minimum of 30 seconds, they promote flexibility and should be used for muscles that don’t have a good range of motion, or where you want a greater range of movement. The stretch is held for 20 seconds initially and then increased and held for a further 10 seconds.”


  1. To boost performance

Decreased range of movement and muscular imbalance can affect performance when exercising and can lead to injuries. Stretching can increase the range of movement at each joint as well as elongating and balancing muscle. It also aids recovery and can help prevent you feeling sore after exercise. As muscles are exerted, toxins are released and stretching can help them move into the bloodstream out of the muscles, where they can be broken down and eradicated.


  1. To improve posture

Tight muscles in the chest from sitting at a desk all day can lead to bad posture. Stretching lengthens the tight muscles responsible for pulling areas of the body away from their natural and intended position. This can help with posture by realigning the body, and can decrease the risk of back pain.