For those who grew up in athletics, you know that the most important aspect of a practice or warm-up was the stretching. Whether you did it in sync with your teammates or had your own routine in the locker room, getting those muscles flexible was a necessity. As we all got older, stretching became less and less a part of our workout regiment. While many people will still take time before and after a workout, it is important to stretch anytime your body is about to endure physical activity. Below are some stretches that should take place prior to every workout and that are beneficial to the body regardless!
Central Body Stretches
Your spine and back are the support systems of the entire body. If they are not properly warmed up and gain an injury, other parts of the body are bound to feel the effects. Stretches that help your entire back are best suited to occur before a workout. Laying flat on your back and crossing one leg over the other while looking the opposite way is a great full-length back stretch. Another great stretch for the back is holding a lunge position with one palm on the ground and the other outstretched to the sky. These stretches help to elongate your body and give your spine the rotation it needs prior to any impact.
If you know that you will be doing a workout that exerts your arms, making sure they are fully stretched is crucial. Moving your arms in full circular rotation allows the blood to flow throughout the arm while also stretching all of the muscles. Many people chose to spend time stretching and warming up their legs and the arms are often forgotten about. It is just as important that your upper body is ready for any kind of physical activity. If you workout with a partner, gently helping to stretch the other is a tactful way loosen your arms.
Prior to and after any physical activity, stretching should be taking place. It is important to remember that your body takes time to get into the swing of physical activity. Stretching can not only help optimize your workout but it can also benefit your body long-term.