Stretching Exercises

Article Highlight: Free Stretching Exercises Illustrated

Maintaining flexibility throughout life is a key component of functional fitness. If you fail to stretch regularly, your muscles will grow tight, your range of motion will be limited and you'll find it more difficult… Keep reading »

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Stretching

Stretching is an essential part of any exercise program because it will help you keep your muscles flexible and limber, which in turn prevents injury. Flexibility training is one of the key components of exercise, and it is one that even die-hard fitness buffs often skip.

Improving Range of Motion

Stretching improves range of motion around joints so you can bend and move with confidence, grace, and ease. Stretching before exercise can help improve your movements while working out and will help you avoid injuries that could sideline you from future workouts.

Staying Limber

It's natural to lose some flexibility as you age, but consistently doing flexibility exercises as a part of your regular workouts will help you stay flexible and limber. Stretching routines may not feel as intense as other workout routines, but when it comes to excelling at both exercise and activities of daily living (ADLs), stretching is vital. Don't skip stretching just because it doesn't make you break a sweat.

Proper Form and Injury Protection

While it is true that stretching can help prevent injuries, it's also true that incorrect stretching can lead to injuries, too. It's important to understand and follow proper stretching technique in order to avoid injury and derive the most benefits from stretching. Static stretching before warming up your body can result in an injury before you even start your workout, and forcing your body into a stretch for which it is not ready will cause issues quickly. Perusing images of people stretching may help you achieve correct form or give you ideas for new stretches you've not yet tried.

Stretching As Treatment

Sometimes stretching is the first suggestion to treat a condition, as is commonly the case with Plantar Fasciitis. While physicians and physical therapists will vary in their recommendations based on individual needs, conditions like shin splints and bulging discs might be relieved by prescribed stretching.

Targeted Stretching

Though full-body stretches feel great, sometimes exercisers need to target specific parts of the body to stretch. Hip stretches can help improve performance of a wide variety of movements, just as hamstring stretches will benefit the body as a whole. Stretching the back is important for people who spend a great deal of their day in a seated position, and when needed, portions of the back can be targeted, such as the upper back.

A Stretch for Every Body

Find the stretches you need to increase your flexibility and maintain your overall fitness. With a regular stretching routine in place, you'll improve your fitness level and feel great while you're doing it.

Stretching Exercises