What does “stretching your muscles” actually do to the muscle?

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And does it actually make you more flexible?

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Skeletal muscles are require serious blood flow when they work at full potential. working muscles need oxygen, glucose and exert waste. Even there is sufficient blood flow, muscles can’t use oxygen effectively when doing exercise because using oxygen is much more efficient for breaking sugar down to ATP but slow compared to non oxygen pathway. If muscles run out of ATP it can’t contract or relax and you may get cramps.

Stretching before exercise increase metabolism and blood flow to the muscles. It also increases heart rate and inspiration rate to support muscles.