SAN DIEGO, Calif. (August 20, 2003) – Since flexibility is one of the five components of fitness, stretching should be an integral part of every workout program. As we age our bodies naturally become less flexible and more prone to injury. With flexibility training, however, we can keep our bodies more limber and youthful. ACE, America’s Authority on Fitness, shares the following top ten reasons why every one should take time to stretch.
- Decreases muscle stiffness and increases range of motion. Stretching helps improve your range of motion which may also slow the degeneration of the joints.
- May reduce your risk of injury. A flexible muscle is less likely to become injured from a slightly extensive movement. By increasing the range of motion in a particular joint through stretching, you may decrease the resistance on your muscles during various activities.
- Helps relieve post-exercise aches and pains. After a hard workout, stretching the muscles will keep them loose and lessen a shortening and tightening effect that can lead to post-workout aches and pains.
- Improves posture. Stretching the muscles of the lower back, shoulders and chest will help keep your back in better alignment and improve your posture.
- Helps reduce or manage stress. Well stretched muscles hold less tension and therefore, leave you feeling less stressed.
- Reduces muscular tension and enhances muscular relaxation. Stretching allows the muscles to relax. Habitually tense muscles tend to cut off their own circulation resulting in a lack of oxygen and essential nutrients.
- Improves mechanical efficiency and overall functional performance. Since a flexible joint requires less energy to move through a wider range of motion, a flexible body improves overall performance by creating more energy-efficient movements.
- Prepares the body for the stress of exercise. Stretching prior to exercise allows the muscles to loosen up and become resistant to the impact they are about to undergo.
- Promotes circulation. Stretching increases blood supply to the muscles and joints which allow for greater nutrient transportation and improves the circulation of blood through the entire body.
- Decreases the risk of low-back pain. Flexibility in the hamstrings, hip flexors and muscles attached to the pelvis relieves stress on the lumbar spine which in turn reduces the risk of low-back pain.
The American Council on Exercise (ACE), America’s Authority on Fitness, is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the benefits of physical activity and protecting consumers against unsafe and ineffective fitness products and instruction. As the nation’s “workout watchdog,” ACE sponsors university-based exercise science research and testing that targets fitness products and trends. ACE sets standards for fitness professionals and is the world’s largest nonprofit fitness certifying organization. For more information on ACE and its programs, call (800) 825-3636 or log onto the ACE Web site at www.acefitness.org.