You might think that the way your workout or how long you exercise for are the most important parts of getting fit, but there’s more to it than just hitting the gym. Not taking the time to stretch after a workout can cause problems and mean that you need to layoff the exercise for a day or two.

While you should stretch before you workout to warm up your muscles and help avoid injury, you also need to incorporate post-exercise workouts into your routine. Here’s why stretching after working out is so important:

Reduces soreness

After working out, your muscles can feel sore and tired. Even if they don’t straight away, they will likely feel a bit achy the next day. This is because lactic acid builds up in your muscles as you exercise.

Stretching after working out helps to improve circulation so the build up of lactic acid is reduced and is less likely to cause pain. This also means your muscles can recover faster after exercise, which will also help reduce discomfort and fatigue.

Resets your body

Workouts leave your muscles in a shortened state due to the number of contractions you perform during exercise. This can cause problems, including certain areas of your body feeling too tight.

Stretching will help to reset your muscles so you can move in a more natural way and relieve the tension that builds up during your session. Not stretching means that your muscles stay in a shortened state, which can result in more pain in the future, as well as a greater level of stiffness.

Gives you insight

Stretching after your workout not only benefits your muscles, it also means you can gauge how your body is feeling. It will allow you to see if there are any painful areas that may need extra care or if you might have injured yourself.

This can mean you know which exercises to avoid during your next workout so your body can fully recover and you avoid pain.

Allows you to relax

You need to relax your mind as well as your body following a workout, which stretching can do. Taking time to perform simple stretches and breathing deeply will help you to chill out and get ready for the next part of your day.

It also gives you a chance to get into the right headspace for whatever you’re doing next, which is ideal if you work out before work or during your lunch break.