Do you stretch regularly? Why not? Most people don’t stretch. They either forget about stretching or don’t think it has any benefit for them. Well they are completely wrong. Stretching is an important part of exercising and is beneficial for everyday life. The benefits range from increased muscle control, flexibility, range of motion, mobility, agility, decreased muscle soreness, and anti-aging. So with all of these benefits to your body why don’t more people stretch?
Most people don’t realize how natural and instinctive stretching really is. Humans and animals stretch naturally, after waking up in the morning, after long periods of inactivity, after sitting for a long period of time or being confined to one space for a long period of time. This is done instinctively without even thinking about it, but knowing your body needs it and feeling the difference after it’s done.
Stretching is beneficial for all age groups and is easily accomplished because there is no need for expensive equipment or trainers. All you need to stretch is the available space and your body.
Stretching is defined as elongating a specific muscle group to improve muscle elasticity. When you stretch the elongated muscle group has a greater range of motion to use that muscle. Thus the muscle group is strengthened and toned because more muscle fibers are recruited to lift weight or do a specific activity. Therefore stretching is important to build muscles. Even if you are not a body builder stretching tones the muscles that are being used therefore reducing fat and allowing greater weight loss. Still if you are not looking to lose weight or build muscle, stretching reduces symptoms of pain by warming up the muscles, increasing range of motion, and the ability to do regular daily activities.
Stretching is a form of physical exercise that should be done daily on its own, or before and after exercise programs. Stretching before a workout is vital to a successful exercise routine. Stretching warms up the muscle groups that you plan on using during your workout. By warming up the muscles, you reduce the chance of injury and muscle cramps. It will also make the workout, sports activity or exercise easier and more enjoyable to accomplish. Additionally it is very important to stretch after your workout routine as well. Stretching after a workout will cool down the muscles and reduce muscle soreness, which normally occurs the following day. It also reduces lactic acid buildup in the muscle tissue which can cause, muscle cramps, aches, soreness, and trigger points (also known as knots). By stretching daily you avoid stiffness in muscles and joints; your body stays agile, mobile and youthful.
There are several kinds of stretching such as ballistic stretching, dynamic stretching, PNF stretching, resistance stretching and static stretching. Although a regular stretching routine will combine several of these types of stretching, it is important to do each stretch properly with correct form to be most beneficial. When it comes to anti-aging dynamic stretches are the most important. Dynamic stretching takes the muscles through their full range of motion, which increases blood flow and oxygen to the soft tissues. This type of stretching decreases stiffness due to aging, increases flexibility and balance and promotes increased energy. Stretching also is preventive for osteoporosis, degenerative disc disease and arthritis.
If you don’t stretch regularly, then its time to start. The sooner you begin the sooner you will notice the benefits to your daily life.

Author's Bio: 

Graduated with a BA in exercise science and have worked in the medical field since. My focus is alternative medicine however all aspects of health interest me. Check out my health website!
Everyday Health, Live your Life to the fullest!