Flexibiltiy Stretching, A Vitally Important Part Of Your Workout

Studies show, stretching greatly improves flexibility. This article tells you why and how.

Stretching is often the most neglected part of a workout. As a certified aerobics instructor, I am amazed at the number of aerobics clients I get who have never stretched at the end of a workout. It's a fact, ending a session of any aerobic exercise without stretching is to leave the workout feeling beat-up.

Recently, the old habit of stretching BEFORE a workout has been reexamined. Stretching cold muscles can invite strains and tears. A warm-up period is safer. This first ten minutes of the workout is a gradual introduction to the activity. It gives the muscles a chance to 'grease' themselves with Sonovial fluid, provides time for the blood to move away from the organs into the muscles, and allows the heartrate to increase gradually.

Once the workout is over, the opposite of a warm-up, or cool-down period, is also critical. And the older you get the more critical it gets. Leaving a workout without stetching can allow the blood to pool in the extremities. Stretching the warm muscles gives the blood a chance to return to the organs, thereby reducing your chances of fainting or overtaxing your heart.

Ever go home from the gym sore? That's lactic acid which has built-up in your muscles from the workout. Stretching greatly reduces the build-up and keeps you from getting sore.

Stretching warm muscles is where you will gain flexibility. As we age, or if we are inactive as a lifestyle, collagen cross-links form in the tissues that connect our muscles. This collagen build-up will, over time, limit our range of movement and make us feel stiff. Stretching helps break apart this build up, greatly minimizing its effects. As a result, we can move more freely and gracefully. More succintly, when a dime rolls under the table, we can bend down and retrieve it without needing a trip to the chiropractor.

Stretching can heighten balance and co-ordination. In stretching, we let the tension out of our muscles and relax. Our posture straightens, our bodies strengthen.

There are some excellent videos dedicated to stretching, and plenty of instructors who teach it correctly. A Yoga class is also a great way to learn.

Don't overlook a positive thing and ignore the stretch. Be good to your body.

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