Importance of Stretching

Finding time to stretch can mean the difference between healthy and injury.


Photo by Brianna Linco

The Antioch varsity dance team stretches before their performance before the boys basketball game.

Stretching should be a major routine in every athlete’s schedule, yet it is very easy to forget. No matter if the person is in a sport, trying to stay healthy, or doing advanced yoga, stretching is an important activity to keep your body in balance. Having the tiniest bit of flexibility can make an athlete a well-rounded player by having a better ranged of motion. Stretching is often overlooked because the results are not visible immediately after stretching one time.

Not only does it make better athletes, but stretching can put any person into a happier, calmer state of mind. Stretching can correct posture by lengthening tight muscles that pull areas of the body away from the “slacking” position, giving anyone the hunchback look. When stretching, do not focus on stretching the whole body after every workout. Focus on a specific muscle group and stretch in multiple ways for a longer period of time. Everyone knows the feeling when waking up and not feeling their legs or arms, so focus on those areas the next day to relieve some of the stress. One long stretching session is needed at least once a week.

Stretching can decrease the probability of being injured by preparing muscles for heavy work. Stretching increases blood and nutrient supply to muscles, eventually reducing muscle soreness. Never stretch cold; a pre-workout warm-up before you begin stretching stimulates the muscles within the body so they are able to stretch easier without pain.

Antioch Community High School varsity dance coach Amy Shouse said, “Stretching can help improve flexibility and range of motion in your joints. Better flexibility may improve your performance in physical activities and sports or decrease your risk of injuries. This is done by helping your joints move through full range of motion and enabling your muscles to work effectively. Most importantly, stretching improves athletic performance.”

There are multiple classes to join to stretch the correct way. These include yoga, pilates, and dance classes. Watch videos to learn the proper criteria of a specific stretch. Stretching does not take hours, even ten-15 minutes of stretching can calm the mind and give the body enough range of motion to move.