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The Importance of Regular Stretching for Young Athletes

The warm-up is a critical aspect of sports that young athletes seem to forget most often. Whether they rush through the exercises so they can start playing faster or use it as a time to socialize with teammates, neglecting a stretching routine or stretching improperly prior to game time or practices can be harmful to the body. There are many types of stretches that can provide exceptional benefits to players of all sports. Here are just a few stretching benefits to consider:

1. Improves Athletic Performance
Does your cheerleader want a higher toe-touch? Does your running back need to increase his speed on the field? Stretching can help. When the muscles are warmed up and ready to move, they can improve performance. Stretching lengthens and relaxes muscles, which helps maximize muscle engagement during physical activity.

2. Prevents Injury 
If you skip stretching, you don't give your body the time it needs to prepare for rapid movements. When your muscles and joints are stiff, they cannot move properly, thus leading to possible injuries, such as torn ligaments and muscle sprains and strains.

3. Improves Range of Motion
Repetitive movements performed in sports can tighten the muscles and tendons involved, decreasing range of motion. Stretching can loosen up these muscles and tendons and become a solution to this common problem.

4. Improves Blood Circulation
Stretching increases blood flow to your muscles, increasing the supply of nutrients circulated throughout the body and removing waste from the muscle tissues. This can speed up the recovery process and decrease the amount of soreness felt post-workout.

It's important to stretch before and after competitions and practices to prepare your muscles and break down lactic acid that is built up in the muscles after strenuous activity. It is recommended to incorporate dynamic stretches before activity and static stretches immediately following.

Did your athlete suffer from an injury during their game or practice? Avoid long lines and expensive visits to the emergency room with MCO's Walk-in Ortho Care Clinic. Our team will provide your athlete with quick and quality care conveniently, five days a week. Visit our website or call us for more information. 309-663-6461 

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