No doubt you have heard that stretching before and after a work out is essential, but you may not know why that is. The biggest reason is that it boosts the exercise you are doing. Exercising without stretching is 30% less effective on your body than when you do a short warm up and cool down routine.
Stretching your muscles before you work out helps loosen them up and gets them prepared for the work they are about to do. This also allows more oxygen to reach your muscles, which promotes strong, healthy ligaments.
By tensing and relaxing your muscles during your pre-workout stretching activities, you are helping the blood circulate better. Your body is already starting your workout when you do these simple stretches because your heart rate is increasing to pump blood more efficiently.
Doing stretches a couple times a day will promote flexibility. You may not think about your body needing to be flexible, but it becomes obvious when it hurts to get up after sitting on the floor, or to pick up and carry small children. If you allow your muscles that extra oxygen and release of tension, you will be increasing your flexibility that you need for many areas of your life, and not just during exercise.