Ever since your first physical education class back in grade school, you’ve been told about a million times about the importance of stretching for improved circulation and injury prevention. However, when you’re looking to make lasting changes to your physique, doing stretching exercises is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. But can stretching change your physique? In this article, we’ll discuss the many benefits of stretching and how it can help you achieve your fitness goals and how it affects your overall physique.
Stretching is not exactly an aerobic exercise, but you’ll be able to burn extra calories with stretching when compared to simply sitting and doing nothing. A 30-minute stretching session can burn about 60 to 100 calories. This is about as effective as a session of gentle yoga. Other forms of advanced stretching can even burn enough calories to help you with weight loss.
Think about it this way. If you’re 180 pounds, you burn 17 calories per minute. If you run for 15 minutes, you’re burning 255 calories in that timespan. But if you add 30 minutes of stretching, you could be amping up that calorie-burning to 355 calories during your exercise regimen. That’s a massive difference compared to just running by itself.
Adding stretching exercises to your regular workout will indirectly help to improve muscle strength by expanding your range of motion. If you are regularly lifting weights, you’ll know how important the range of motion is when it comes to achieving physical goals and preventing injuries. The better your range of motion, the more muscle fibers will expand. With more expanded muscle fibers, you’ll be able to lift more weights.
Stretching can also help with decreasing DOMS (Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness), which means that you can get back to the gym sooner. This results in stronger muscles and faster muscle growth.
Nothing puts more of a damper on achieving your physical goals than a bad injury. It stops your progression and can often leave you feeling disheartened because you can’t keep up with the regimen you’ve started. Stretching will not completely stop an injury, but it sure does help in preparing your body for exercise. And when your body is prepared for exercise, your muscles are warm and more easily pliable and less likely to cramp up or cause a mishap that leads to injury.
A full-body stretch workout is also beneficial for focus. With a more focused mindset, the less likely you’ll make a misstep while working out.
Stretching will not just help in improving your performance in sports, but in everyday life as well. Stretching and athleticism go hand in hand as they each require flexibility. Even in everyday tasks, you need the flexibility to move about and do mundane things more comfortably. If you want a more flexible body, you have to do regular stretching, even outside of sports and workouts. Even if you are just at your desk working, doing stretches can help prevent injuries, muscle weakness, and even headaches.
So, can stretching change your physique? Stretching is a vital part of reaching any and every fitness goal that you’ve set for yourself. It increases the calories burned during a workout, it makes your muscles more pliable, it reduces your risk of injury, and it improves your ability to meet your everyday physical needs. So, while stretching can do a lot for you on its own, it’s also a great addition to your other fitness goals.
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