It is important to stretch before every workout. Too often, as friends and I gather for a run, etc., I see some of them that either barely stretch, or not stretch at all. If your muscles are not properly stretched, it can lead to a strain or worse. That would put you out of your normal fun until it heals. It is hard to say how long that may be.
Also, as we age, muscles that are not used will naturally tighten up. Not a lot, but it does happen. I have found recently that, as a result of sitting at a desk a lot for work, my IT bands ( from the hip to the knee ) have been slowly tightening. I have to stretch them on a daily basis to keep them loose and functioning the way I want them to.
There are many forms and methods that can be used to stretch your muscles. Most people focus on the stretches that directly affect the types of workouts and sports that they engage in. I use a foam roller and a strap. When I purchased each, they came with a set instructions and pictures that demonstrated how to properly perform the stretch. Do not disregard the value of this instruction! An improper stretch can be a waste of time and actually cause an injury too. A proper stretch goes a long way.
Stretching, in addition to helping preventing injuries, can improve your performance. It can help you have a longer stride while running, a better stroke while swimming and more effective pedal power when cycling.
Find the time in your schedule to stretch. I have my foam roller and stretching strap in front of the TV. It is easy enough to do the stretches and watch what I want at the same time. I like to take the time to do the stretches right and for the proper amount of time. I do not want to suffer the consequences of failing to stretch!
I hope this helps you young jedi 🙂by