Stretching is as important to to your workout as washing your hands so you do not get the flu.
Though you should always approach stretching and exercise with caution so as not to increase damage you may already have, and should know this before hand. Always remember, You can adjust any techniques to fit your abilities. Perhaps, talk to a trainer or physical therapist if you have problems stretching and always practice correct form when exercising.
You should NEVER feel pain when stretching, only tension! If you are feeling pain, back off so you do not create an injury. Visit the link below for some dos and don’ts of stretching: https://www.bodybuilding.com/category/stretching
Let’s not confuse stretching with a warm-up.
A good warm-up boosts your heart rate and increases blood flow and oxygen to your muscles. Studies show it may be possible to hurt yourself if you stretch cold muscles, so Consider skipping a stretch session before an intense activity for that reason. Some research is showing that pre-event stretching may actually decrease your performance.
Stretching after your work out on the other hand, not only feels good but listen to this! Stretching is a big contributor to an amazing posture, fewer aches, and pains and increases blood flow for your muscles to repair themselves faster, helps prevent injury by keeping muscles flexible and to maintain a good range of motion. Regular stretching has also been proven to reduce mental tension, anxiety and depression. It encourages the release of endorphins and provides a sense of euphoria. I can attest to most of this! I can definitely tell when I didn’t stretch or maybe didn’t stretch enough after my workout. The next day I am weaker and a lot of those times, have a hard time with full range of motion.
Not stretching after a workout may feel ok, but over time could potentially lead to injury. Without stretching, your muscles do not have a chance to get long and lean, they instead end up very tight and when you do workout, they are weak and unable to extend to full range of motion. Ending in a possible painful injury.
Here’s another interesting fact...for those of you with high cholesterol, stretching could help prevent and even reverse the hardening of arteries.
The areas critical for mobility are the lower extremities. the hip flexors, quads, calves and hamstrings, however, the upper extremities are important too.... The reason why stretching those hip flexors is so important, especially for people with office jobs or people who sit a lot throughout the day.
Prolonged sitting causes your hip flexors to get tight. Your iliopsoas is predominantly a postural stabilizing muscle, which keeps your hips and lower back correctly aligned. Shortening of these muscles can lead to compensatory movement patterns in the joints and muscles of the pelvis and lower back and as I said earlier, causes poor posture.