Why Is Stretching Important?
You may often see an athlete stretching prior to performing, or you, yourself may warm-up and stretch while at the gym before lifting or jumping on an elliptical. This is because stretching your muscles can help to “loosen them up” before putting them to work, reducing the risk of an injury. There are many ways to stretch and prepare a muscle prior to intense use—and it is also important to stretch your muscles after working out and between workouts.
Why? Post-workout, your muscles build up lactic acid and are repairing tears; necessary steps to building healthy muscle but stiff muscles heal and grow more slowly than loose, nimble muscles—and they can be painful and reduce your mobility.
Even if you are not active, stretching serves to keep your muscles healthy. Aging, lack of activity, overuse, stress, and injury can cause muscles to tighten up, limiting their range of motion. This can cause a ripple effect in throughout the body, causing postural issues, back pain, shoulder pain, joint pain, and well, pain in general.