Stretching and recovery are important in health and fitness, no matter what your goal is. The benefits of stretching are endless and are especially essential in recovery and injury prevention. Yet so many people skip out on stretching and don’t allow their body time to recover. A few of the most important benefits of stretching include:
- Injury Prevention
- Release Muscle Tension
- Increase Range of Motion
- Reduce Soreness
- Improve Muscle Imbalances
- Increase Blood Circulation and Energy Levels
After exertion, studies show that your muscles need anywhere from 24-72 hours to recover. You’ll notice this need in fatigue, soreness, fitness plateau, or even in your mood. Rather than pushing through and ending up burnt out, follow these steps to ensure you are allowing yourself adequate recovery:
- Listen to your body – notice the signs and allow yourself a day or two off activity.
- Schedule rest days – try to get at least 2 rest days in a week.
- Practice active recovery – engage in light exercise and movement on recovery days, such as stretching.
To some, fitness and activity can be all about pushing yourself to your limit. The body is capable of amazing things when you break outside of your comfort zone, but it also needs these tactics of stretching and recovery to build back stronger than ever. Make a habit of incorporating stretching into your daily routine. Set aside just a few minutes to start your day, before a workout, after a workout, or to end your day. Give yourself room for recovery as well, and you will realize what you are truly capable of!