Playing sports is a great way to stay fit. It is also a fun way to bond with friends and family. It doesn’t even have to be competitive as long as you’re all enjoying the activity. Due to the excitement, it is easy to forget fundamental practices that have to be done before an intense round of playing. That includes stretching exercises which must go first before doing any rigorous activity, including sports and any other kind of workout.
7 Reasons Why Stretching Is Important
If you don’t do stretching exercises before playing sports, the soft tissues surrounding your joints may get damaged beyond repair. These tissues include muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin, and joint capsules.
Without proper stretching, your tissues may shorten over time and then become fatigued. Whether you are doing rotational exercises for baseball or getting ready to smash in badminton, you need to understand why stretching is important before any kind of intense physical activity.
- Stretching Promotes Proper Circulation
Poor circulation causes cramping, which is very painful. Although it isn’t fatal, it’s not something you’re going to enjoy. Cramps are caused by holding a position for a prolonged period. You can usually notice swimmers and football players suffering from cramps, but even non-athletes can get them. With proper circulation, you can help your muscles perform better and avoid hurtful cramps as you move around during playtime.
- Improves Coordination And Free Movement
If you’ve noticed, it’s quite hard or tiring to move in the morning when you wake up. This is why you find yourself stretching every morning. The same thing occurs when you play. If you haven’t had any practice or exercise before playing or working out, chances are, you’re going to be moving pretty slow.
- Prepares You For The Physical Challenge
With proper stretching, you will be capable of performing any kind of physical activity, because you know you are ready to take on the challenge. You are more than prepared to run, slide, duck, or dive because you have made the proper stretching preparations.
- Improves Flexibility
If you’re a gymnast, your sport will require great flexibility as you go through different bars and perform different tumbling techniques. Stretching will allow you to achieve your techniques because you will become more flexible as your body has already been prepared for the task.
- Reduces Muscle Tension
It’s normal to feel tense and anxious before a big game. With that, your muscles could also tense up. With stretching exercises, however, you can relax and loosen your muscles to make them more free-moving.
Stretching also makes you feel good because your parasympathetic nervous system gets activated. It also increases blood flow which will significantly reduce tension and improve your mood.
- Increase Your Range Of Motion
Running and jumping becomes easier when you’ve stretched your muscles because your legs will not feel stiff or become too tired easily. So, always prepare your body before a big game to perform your best.
- Prevents Muscle Strain
Without stretching exercises, you are putting your muscles and joints at risk. With sudden rigorous movements, you might experience muscle strain or get injured. Unfortunately, some injuries will cause permanent damage. Stretching will prepare your body for the activity that you are about to do. This way, you can prevent straining and overworking your muscles.
To make sure you’re constantly reminded to take care of your body and do proper stretching exercises, download apps, or seek help from agencies and organizations like The Pro’s List. These groups have programs that consists of activities that can help stretch out your muscles. Aside from that, these programs can help you effectively bring out your A-game, no matter which sport you decide to play.
Stretching your body before working out or playing sports is always a must. These exercises will help you prepare for an intense physical activity. Stretching helps your muscles and joints get ready for the tremendous activities ahead. It will help you become more flexible, and it reduces the risk of cramping or straining your muscles during the activity.
By Ernesto Schofield, a successful writer who regularly publishes content on sports and health on his blog and a variety of international health and fitness websites.