Stretching Your Benefits

Monday, October 10, 2011

Photo: Courtesy of photostock

Being a student who goes to the gym daily, I notice habits others have that can truly harm their physical health. Many students are often strapped for time and make their gym session an “in-and-out” type deal. It is good students are exercising, but many do not stretch. They may be unaware of the benefits that stretching provides.  Stretching should be done before and after a moderate or intense workout is completed.  The average time for both is roughly 10-15 minutes.  If you cannot sacrifice twenty minutes while at the gym, then what was the point of even going?  Arnold Nelson, Associate Professor at Louisiana State University, states, “ At the very least, people should aim to stretch all major muscle groups at least once, a few times a week, such as after exercising.  Getting up from your desk and stretching out throughout the day is also recommended to release muscle tension.  Plus, it just feels good."  The benefits of a pre-workout stretch help with blood flow and posture.  The increase in blood flow will assist you during your workout, producing more motivation and strength to perform various activities. Also, your posture during your workouts will be corrected and fitted to your activities.  The benefits of an after-work out stretch will assist in muscle tension. Think of your muscles like giant rubber bands that need to be broken in.  After using them, you want to stretch them out so that the same motions will flow easier next time.

The benefits of stretching are crucial in maintaining a physically active lifestyle.  Improving your balance can be achieved simply by stretching before and after your workouts.  Even if you are at home watching television, you can simply get on the floor and stretch, while still watching your favorite show! Your balance is very crucial to maintain throughout life.  As you age, you will find that your bones become more fragile, meaning that your muscles will lose the support they used to have.  Stretching can help prevent your bones and muscles from weakening.  Every day before I go to the gym, I usually go outside and stretch.  As a busy college student, I understand that some students may not have time to stretch while going to the gym, but 15 minutes out of your day should not be a problem.  If you are unable to stretch during the day, I would suggest saving some time right before you go to bed.

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