We are constantly told that exercise is important to our health, but people often neglect to stress the importance of stretching both before AND after a workout. Stretching not only prevents injury and muscle soreness, but also improves flexibility and coordination.
Why stretch before you exercise? :
Stretching pre-workout should only take you about 5-10 minutes. In these minutes, your body will pump more blood into the area you are stretching, allowing more oxygen to reach your muscles. This both helps prevent injury during the workout and helps loosen up tight muscles. It can also promote ligament strength as well.
Why stretch post-workout?:
After an intense workout such as a long run, your muscles tend to tighten up. Stretching right after you exercise will help loosen up your muscles and prevent lactic acid build up that could potentially make your muscles very sore the next day. However, stretching cannot always prevent soreness. If your muscles feel very sore the next day it is important to give them a day or two of recovery to heal.