Why Does Every Professional Athlete Need To Master Stretching?

Stretching is usually seen as an activity that only needs to be performed by gymnasts or runners. This is incorrect. In reality, every single athlete out there needs to master stretching to protect independence and mobility. Unfortunately, most people do not fully understand how important stretching is. You need to do this daily.

Why Is Stretching So Important?

When you regularly stretch, your muscles remain flexible, healthy, and strong. In addition, you gain the flexibility needed to maintain a proper, full motion range with your joints. If you do not stretch, muscles actually become shorter and tighter. As the muscles are needed for an activity, without stretching they cannot properly extend and are very weak. You are put at a huge risk of strains, muscle damage, and joint pain.

Stretching is much more important than what most people think. For instance, when you sit in a chair for days on end, hamstrings become very tight. It will be more and more difficult to extend legs and straighten the knee. This inhibits walking. Similarly, as tight muscles are called for a sudden strenuous activity, like playing a game of tennis, they become more damaged. The injured muscles cannot be strong and cannot support joints. This would lead to joints being injured.

Through regular stretching, muscles are kept flexible, lean, and long. Exertion is not going to put a lot of force on the muscle. Stretching trainers say that this makes muscles healthier and they help you when you have any balance problem. Simply put, it is more difficult to be injured when you undergo constant stretching.

Where Should You Start?

If you have a lot of muscle mass, you might be overwhelmed by the thought of stretching every single day. However, the good news is that you do not have to stretch all your muscles. The areas that are the most important for your mobility are the lower extremities. This practically means you should start with hip flexors, hamstrings, and calves. Your goal should be a program that involves daily stretches or a minimum of 3 to 4 times each week.

Always look for physical therapists that can help you to assess muscle strength. Then, you want to tailor the program so that it meets physical needs. Always talk with a doctor in the event that you have a condition like arthritis or Parkinson’s.

The Importance Of Constantly Stretching

You cannot improve your flexibility if you stretch once today and you forget about it for a month. This is an activity that needs to be done over time. You also need to remain completely committed to constantly stretching. For most people, it will actually take months to make your muscles as flexible as they should be. Even after you gain benefits, you may have to keep working on it to maintain them.

Be Careful With Execution

In the past, people thought that stretching was only needed to warm up muscles so that they are ready for strenuous physical activity. Now, we know that stretching before warming up actually hurts muscles. Due to this, the execution of the stretching exercises is so much more important than what many believe.

Muscle fibers are not ready to “perform” when they are cold. In order to avoid the possible problems caused by not warming up muscles, the best thing you can do before a stretching routine is to undergo around five to ten minutes of lighter activity. Even quick walking is enough. Then, when it is time to stretch, the focus needs to be put on form. When the form is not proper, injuries happen.

Marcelo Villa

About Marcelo Villa

Marcelo is an associate editor at The Sports Daily, and has covered the San Diego Chargers for Bleacher Report. He also writes for Sportsdirect Inc.