Like other workouts, stretching before and after swimming is crucial for taking care of your muscles. It prepares, or warms up, your muscles in preparation for the workout ahead and properly relieves your muscles after the workout. You can focus on dynamic stretches before swimming then static stretches afterwards. Here are some important benefits you receive from stretching:
1. Stretching increases your flexibility
Flexibility is important for anyone that exercises, and most especially for those who swim, because of how you constantly reach forward to accomplish each stroke. If you have flexible and loosened muscles, you can more easily accomplish the range of motion required to swim. Not only will this help you swim more efficiently, it will also help you use your muscles to their full potential.
2. Stretching decreases your chances of injury
When people dive straight into a workout that pushes your muscles to certain limits, there’s a good chance that their muscles may underperform, or even be injured. Stretching allows you to properly warm up your muscles, while making them more flexible, so that they can be extended further. It also warms up your joints and helps deliver blood to your muscles. All of these better prepare your body for exertion and strengthens it against possible injuries. There are certain types of stretches that should be done before the workout to activate the muscles needed, and different types of stretches that must be done after the workout to relax the used muscles.
3. Stretching improves your posture
It’s easy for people to develop bad posture, especially when majority of the day is spent sitting down in front of a table or screen. This will usually lead to discomfort or even pain in your back. Surprisingly, posture isn’t just important when you sit and stand, but also when you swim. Stretching, especially before and after a workout, helps improve your posture as it promotes good body alignment.
With these benefits, make sure you don’t skip your pre and post swimming stretches!