The Health Benefits of Stretching

 

 

Stretching might seem old school to some but it should still have its place in our health regimen, whether we work out or not. Stretching isn’t only good for our muscles. Its benefits go way beyond that. Read on to find out why you should be stretching every day.

Flexibility

Stretching increases your body’s ability to bend and twist much more easily. It elongates the muscles and loosens your tendons allowing you to move much more fluidly. This will also help you with your coordination and balance in your everyday activity. You know that groan you do when you bend over to pick something up from the floor? Stretching will help you pick it up with ease and without making any weird sounds.

Posture

Because stretching loosens tight muscles and creaky joints, including those along your back, neck, and spine, it helps improve your posture. A good posture helps you look taller and more slender (yay!), helps prevent back injuries and opens up your lungs, enabling you to breathe better, get more oxygen to your brain and think more clearly.

Reduce Muscle Soreness

Stretching increases blood flow to your entire body but more specifically, to your muscles. This allows for a quicker increase in recovery from muscle soreness because the blood delivers all those good vitamins and nutrients that help your muscles get back to good health. This is why it’s a good idea to stretch after working out. Stretching your muscles helps relieve them from the stress they underwent during your workout and lessens that soreness the day after.

Stress Relief

Life can be stressful, and emotional stress takes its toll on our bodies too, making our bodies tense. And tense, sore muscles can stress us out. It’s a vicious cycle. But taking just 5-10 minutes to do some stretching in a relaxed and peaceful environment can go a long way to help release the stress in both your mind and body, enabling you to go about your day with more grace and mental clarity.

You don’t need fancy equipment or a lot of time to stretch. You can even do it at your desk or place of work. But to prevent injury, you don’t want to stretch cold muscles, so take a brisk walk or some other sort of heart pumping activity to increase your body temperature before you stretch. Many people enjoy Tai Chi, Yoga, or Pilates which all incorporate stretching into the workout in a safe way.

If you notice a certain area that feels tense or tight, focus on stretching that one area. Start off slow but attack the muscle from every angle. Muscles are complex and it can be hard to reach the specific area of the tight muscle with just one move. Stretching your muscles before they get painful will help prevent that pain from ever happening. A quick full body stretch every day will help you feel more youthful and energetic and who couldn’t use that?


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