Iron-pumping gym-rats, lean marathon runners, the football players tearing down the line and the high school gym teacher you’re trying to forget about — they’ll all tell you the same thing. Stretch. Who has time for that, though? Why is stretching important? It doesn’t burn fat, make you sweat, improve your cardio, and it certainly isn’t always the most fun part of an exercise session. Can’t we just skip it? The short answer: No.
Stretching Increases Mobility
When we exercise, we strain our muscles and create tiny micro-tears in the them; it’s part of the reason you feel sore after a good workout (along with the build up of lactic acid). Your body reacts by reinforcing the muscle, building it up so that it can be prepared for the next workout. That is how your muscles grow.
However, the more your muscles grow, the bulkier they become, making you less mobile. For example, you know that one guy at your gym that can barely scratch his own head? They might have huge muscles and swagger around, but chances are they cannot do functional movements like scale a wall or complete a muscle up very well because of not so good muscle flexibility. That is not the goal of fitness. Ideally, we want fit, toned, fluid muscles that allow both mobile movement and strength. The two work in tandem, and one should never be neglected in lieu of the other. Stretching is the only way to lengthen those muscles, allowing your body to be both flexible and strong…
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