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What are the benefits of stretching? Why don't I see many people that stretch after their workout?

Stretching is very important.  I'm a firm believer of this having worked with a number of injured clients for rehabilitation over the years.

A lot of people avoid stretching because they feel that it's a waste of time and that it won't result in any change in your physique. However, what a many people fail to realise are the benefits of stretching, in addition to the implications of NOT stretching.

Stretching will aid in flexibility. Flexibility is very important so you can safely perform exercises with a full range of motion. This is particularly important for large compound exercises, such as squats and lunges. For example, if you are tight through your hamstrings/glutes when performing squats, this will increase the degree of curvature of the lumbar spine and therefore increase the risk of serious spinal injury.

Flexibility also has a positive effect on correct posture. This is important to avoid permanent re-alignment of your bone structure. Correct posture is also very important when performing many resistance and cardiovascular training exercises. One reason for this is to ensure that an even load is placed upon each side of the body.

Stretching also promotes blood transport to muscle fibres. This enhances nutrient delivery to muscle cells (eg. glucose, amino acids etc.) and will therefore aid in recovery of that muscle.

Therefore, stretching is vital at the completion of a workout.  I strongly suggest that you spend 5 minutes at the end of each workout stretching.

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