I remember being in college, running on the treadmill, working out, and stretching afterward, sometimes for up to 30 minutes—which, granted, is a long time. Any time that friends would work out with me, they always laughed and made fun of how much I stretched, like I was crazy for involving it in my workout routine. I tried to explain that although it does take time and some (albeit minimal) effort, I always feel much better when I stretch. Anytime that I took a few days off from stretching, even if I wasn’t exercising, I generally started getting muscle tension and experiencing pain during even the most minor movements.
On top of that, I have one specific stretch that I do for my lower back and hips, that, if I don’t do multiple times a week, causes me to develop chronic, debilitating pain in a tendon all the way IN MY CALF MUSCLE. So, people can laugh all they want at people like me who believe in the magical powers of stretching; but they will realize, maybe not today or tomorrow, but someday, that stretching is extremely beneficial to their body.
I get that most people (myself included) just want to be done when they finish a tough workout. You’re tired, sweaty, sore, maybe a little (or a lot) winded, and you just want to take a shower and relax. But is it really so hard to just take those extra few minutes to stretch out? No, it’s not. Which is why everyone should do it!
Even if you’re not someone who exercises regularly, stretching every day is a great way to stay limber, allow for some blood flow, and release some tension from muscles. All in all, this leads to a happier, more comfortable you.
The truth is, it can be easy to make fun of “that guy” in the gym, who bends his body into weird positions on a mat, all in the name of health. I’ve laughed at him, you’ve laughed at him; we’ve all done it. On the other hand, just because he looks goofy in the moment, that doesn’t mean that his contortions are fruitless. That dude is probably more limber than half of the 20-somethings we know; because, guess what, they don’t stretch.
So, as a human being who (presumably) enjoys feeling good, consider this question: If by just taking 15 or 20 minutes out of your day, you could have relaxed, unfatigued muscles in addition to more flexibility and mobility, would you do it?
Hint: your answer should be yes. Just stretch. Do it. Your body will thank you. I know mine did.