There are several benefits of stretching, and stretching needs to be a part of your fitness program.

Stretching, in its most basic form, is a natural and instinctive activity. People often stretch instinctively after waking from sleep or after long periods of inactivity.

As a form of exercise, stretching involves elongating a specific muscle or muscle group to its fullest length.

Here are the top six benefits of stretching:

  1. Stretching increases flexibility. Flexibility is the degree to which an individual muscle will lengthen. As you get older, your muscles begin to shorten and tighten, restricting your flexibility. This restricted flexibility causes your movement to become slower and less fluid and makes you more susceptible to muscle strains, ligament sprains and other soft tissue injuries. Stretching is the most effective way to increase flexibility.
  2. Stretching improves circulation. Stretching increases blood flow to the muscles. Increased blood flow brings more nourishment to your muscles and removes more waste byproducts from your muscles. Increased blood flow can also help you recover faster from muscle and joint injuries.
  3. Stretching improves posture. Tight muscles contribute to poor posture. Stretching keeps your muscles from getting tight, helping you to maintain good posture.
  4. Stretching improves balance and coordination. The increased flexibility that comes from stretching improves balance and coordination. Improved balance and coordination will lower your risk for falling and injuring yourself.
  5. Stretching can often eliminate low back pain. Muscle tightness in the quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors and low back muscles is a common cause of low back pain. Stretching these muscles will often eliminate the pain.
  6. Stretching is good for the heart. Recent studies have found that stretching can lower blood pressure and improve artery function.

In conclusion, don’t overlook the benefits of stretching. Make sure that stretching is a regular part of your fitness program.