Reasons To Have Stretching Exercises Prior To Having A Workout

Each one of us experienced this boring exercise workout, which for some even regard as useless and monotonous. I am referring to stretching, which we always and is required to do before engaging in the main sport that will be taught to us by our physical education teachers during our formative years when we were in the primary and secondary levels. As will be discussed later, there are more than enough reasons to have stretching exercises prior to having a workout.

In a nutshell, not only for yoga but also for your daily exercise routine, stretching is one vital aspect of a workout regimen. It may prepare your body to have that proper conditioning when you delve into a more strenuous physical activity or exercise afterwards. This is common knowledge and also being strongly advised by physical and body conditioning experts.

Relevant Experience

I, myself, will attest to this. I also questioned the need for this warm-up back then when I was in grade school. I stubbornly did the stretching which I thought then was useless. I did it without any effort or in a slacking manner and without energy, for I despised the boring movement back then.

On the other hand, I was eager and excited to play the main sport or activity that we will be doing and will be instructed to us to do by our physical education mentors.

When I entered high school, I became athletic. This was because my friends and peers being varsities of different sports. Thus, I was influenced to indulge and focus on sports at that time. In so engaging, I became athletic too.

Interestingly though, owing to my former habit of downplaying the stretch warm-ups, I suffered sprain during one of our sport games.

I immediately realized that this may be the result of taking lightly the benefit of stretching and flexing before the game. Hence, I directly connected my injury to the fact that I was goofing off during preparatory exercises.

Surprisingly, I even noticed that none of my friends suffered any injuries or sprains, mild or otherwise. It may be since all of them did the warm-up diligently except me, so it seems.

This caused me to be absent for a week in school. My injuries also gave me headaches owing to the fact that I cannot start attending to my school works. In addition, I was now confronted with the pile of assignments and readings that I should catch-up on upon my return to school.

Also, precious time was lost that should have been utilized for improving my game and athletic abilities.

After that accident, I solemnly promised myself to properly do the stretching and warm-up preparatory exercises before our games. This event was an eye-opener and made me learn a lesson the hard way, which has been, and always be, the importance of stretching to our body and even in our everyday lives.

Simple Stretch | Indubitable Benefits

When doing a simple good stretch, your muscle reacts to it, especially if it has been quite a long time since you have had any extraneous physical activity. Thus, you will feel body aches in the area or areas which you stretched. This is but normal.

Even back then, at the time when sports are not as organized as today, stretching has been practiced by athletes and considered an important thing to do before doing the main sport.

Most physical instructors and body conditioning mentors have always stressed the importance and significance of stretching before doing the main exercise, workouts, sports, or game.

As it should be, this will prepare the athlete’s muscles for vigorous activities and pieces of training that he will pursue and will execute. More importantly, it may also prevent injuries like muscle cramps and hurts connected to overexertion. 

We are taught in our school that a single stretch should only be held for about eight seconds, or so, but the experts recommend holding it up to at least seventeen (17) seconds for optimal results. This may result in having a less likely incident for injuries to happen.

Experts have said that any stretch under seventeen (17) seconds will be not just as effective as compared to doing it more than that amount of time.

Yoga is Undoubtedly a Flexing and Stretching Exercise Workout

In connection with the topic of, and discussion on, stretching, yoga, aside from being an exercise discipline in itself, is also a stretching, flexing, and conditioning fitness activity.

While stretching in itself follows sequence and target areas, yoga is more on to a next level form of flexing. They are adeptly called “postures” or “poses’, a class of movements in themselves.

On the requirement of seventeen (17) seconds or more stretching, one kind of yoga that levels up this requirement and makes it 30 seconds of keeping that stretch is Bikram’s yoga.

Bikram’s Yoga, A Stretch Rich and Heat Filled Yoga Postures

Bikram’s Yoga became famous in the 1970’s which has been started by Bikram Choudhury, an Indian Man born in Calcutta, India in 1944. He then went to USA to teach yoga in health spas in California, where he taught this new form of yoga.

In Bikram’s yoga, they use intense heat to even stretch more your muscles compared to the usual elongation. This high heat yoga was inspired by the temperature of the mother country of the inventor, India.

The room where you will be doing the exercises is set to about 41 degrees Celsius and with 40% humidity. And a usual Bikram yoga runs for about 1 hour and 30 minutes and consists of 26 stretch yoga postures.

According to a systematic review done in 2015, Bikram’s Yoga has a lot of benefits. Some of these are improved lower body strength, range of joint motion, and balance.

Aside from that, there was also a connection with Bikram’s yoga to possible improvements in glucose tolerance, density of the bone, stiffness of artery, being mindful, and stress management.[1]

The Benefits of Stretching | The Need to Attain Elasticity plus Strength

I have now explained the importance of stretching, but what about its benefits? One of the most important benefits that stretching can give is having great elasticity. We all know Jackie Chan; he is a living testament that stretching should always be done.

Jackie Chan have reached this feat of great elasticity, thanks to doing stretching religiously which relaxes his muscles and gives him more scope of movement. This has been necessary in doing most of his martial arts like Kung Fu.

Aside from martial artists, our Armed Forces also need great elasticity. Thus, you could see in their training that stretching is also part of the exercise regime. Yet, they are mixed or done together with another exercise. For example, a usual stretching for that matter is accompanied with a kettle ball for the soldiers.

Incidentally, because of their important and highly dangerous duty of protecting their country, soldiers need to be strong and must have a well-conditioned body and mind. Stretching exercises will help them achieve that level of conditioning coupled with other mixed workouts.

Explosive Power

These simple yet significant stretches can give anyone the ability to have explosive power available at one’s fingertips, without the fear of having injuries or whatsoever untoward incidents. We do acknowledge that most of us are just normal citizens and not martial artists or soldiers. Nonetheless, the mere fact that this single stretch can come a long way in terms of benefits is more of a boon rather than a bane.

Final Thoughts

If only I have done my stretches way earlier and executed them properly, I would not have suffered that sprain. I may not have been left out in my school tasks and lessons and tons of assignments may not have accumulated.

The lesson here is that stretching helps us avoid injuries. Moreover, according to studies, it also aids in healing muscle, tendon, and ligament damage. This is because stretching makes the ligaments, tendons, and muscles grow, thus, replacing the damaged part.

Lastly, as a precaution and a friendly warning, if you are experiencing any medical concerns in your body, please consult first with your doctor or a physician. This is most especially true if it concerns any of your bones or muscles, which would make the stretching more harmful than it was designed for.

[1] Hewett, Zoe L.; Cheema, Birinder S.; Pumpa, Kate L.; Smith, Caroline A. (2015). “The Effects of Bikram Yoga on Health: Critical Review and Clinical Trial Recommendations”. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2015: 1–13.

Leave a Reply