Stretching: Easily Overlooked

Stretching. It is definitely one of those things easily overlooked when it comes to working out. It’s very easy to brush it off. May be your schedule is too tight or maybe it’s because you don’t “see” the results of stretching that you don’t take it seriously enough. Knowing the benefits of stretching can help you better understand why stretching is important to your daily life. But for an athlete and a dancer, you better make sure it’s deeply rooted to your pre and post exercise/class routine.

Stretching is typically associated with flexibility. Stretching is also an important tool for injury prevention by keeping joints and muscles in tip-top shape. But it actually serves so much more. Stretching can improve posture, boost energy and increase your blood flow. So important and especially for an athlete and a dancer.

Is stretching necessary?

Yes. Pre, during or post-workout stretching (all of them really) helps to boost muscle health and strengthen joints. Stretching is just as important as daily exercise for all ages.

The key to improving your ability as a dancer is stretching.  Stretching provides many benefits including flexibility, stronger technique, improved lines and range of motion, muscle awareness and injury prevention.  It helps blood flow to the muscles and cartilage and helps to relax us. Stretching creates long lean muscles required for dancers and athletes.  Pliable muscles come from stretching.

Tight muscles can make us feel lethargic. The build-up of stress makes our muscles contract.  This stress makes us feel tension not only to our bodies but also to our minds. Stretching eases this stress and helps us to relax. Stretching helps to better our posture by lengthening tight muscles.  And posture is so important to us dancers. Stress strains our muscles and pulls them into odd, stretching encourages muscles into their correct alignment.  This helps to relieve aching pains.  Added plus is the release of endorphins, giving positive vibes.

The most obvious benefit of stretching is improved flexibility.  For dancers this is particularly important because it helps us to improve our kicks, splits, arabesques, leaps, turn out and so much more.  Stretching is beneficial for all genre of dance exercises.  Without stretching it is often difficult to accomplish many of the exercises in some genres of dance. Not to mention, it will help to avoid possible injuries.

Stretching will give us improved energy by increasing the blood flow through our body.

Stretching can delay fatigue to muscles by the improved blood flow through muscles. This will help with endurance and improve athletic performance. Remember, dancers are athletes. Muscles that haven’t stretched will be less effective during dance or exercise. Regular stretching will relax your muscles and therefore help them perform better when required.

Stretching can help to improve co-ordination. Stretching helps dancers’ awareness of their bodies and helps them to be in-tune with their bodies. They can identify their limitations and set goals on where to improve. By working on lengthening muscles dancers will improve their posture and turnout and maintain correct alignment within their bodies. Stretching will assist to maximize the body’s potential and help dancers achieve improved results for all of their dancing.

Warm up the muscles and stretch to prepare them for optimal performance during class, and stretching after exercise will help to relax those muscles that worked so hard. This will help to reduce soreness in muscles.

It is important to stretch all of your body. This includes back, arms, legs, feet, neck and core. Stretching is not only important for dancers and athletes but for all of us. Incorporate a stretch routine into your morning or afternoon. And educate your student dancers the importance of stretching and encourage them to stretch before, during and after class. They will feel the difference in their body and mind.

And so will you.