This article originally appeared in Self.
Stretching is one component of fitness that a lot of us find way too easy to skip. But there are some benefits of stretching that might just make you want to add it to your routine.
While the research on stretching is a bit mixed, there are some legit mental and physical benefits to incorporating it into your routine, whether you stretch pre-workout, at the end of your session, or another time during the day People who make time for stretching may find it helps their workouts—and daily life—feel a little (or a lot) better.
But before we dig into those benefits, it can be helpful to understand what exactly we mean by stretching.
Stretching is basically any movement that lengthens your muscles (and along with them, the tendons, ligaments, and connective tissue) even temporarily, physical therapist and strength coach Ivan Hernandez, D.P.T., C.S.C.S., owner of Executive Park PT and Wellness in New York, tells SELF. Pretty much every time you move your body, something is getting stretched, Candace Harding, D.P.T., a physical therapist and registered yoga teacher in Vienna, Virginia, tells SELF.