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The Benefits of Stretching is something many people take for granted. Many people don’t make time for daily stretching, it’s crazy the number of people I see leaving the gym after a workout without stretching. Not only can stretching help to increase your flexibility, but it can improve back pain, help you recover faster after a workout, and prevent injury.
As I have gotten older I have found it more and more important to incorporate stretching into my daily activity. The older we get the more aches and pains we develop. For me, my lower back, hips, and shoulders really don’t enjoy the aging process. However, I have been able to see a great improvement in these aches and pains as I have increased the amount of stretching I do daily.
Top 8 Benefits Of Stretching:
1. Improves Your Physical Performance
Stretching prior to physical actives has been proven to prepare your body and muscles for the activity. Helping to prevent injury or muscle cramps during the activity.
2. Aids In Recovery After Workouts
When we work out we put stress on our body, bones, joints, and muscles. By stretching after each workout you help your body relax, you help those muscles and joints loosen up. By doing so you will feel less muscle soreness after a workout and you will be able to push a little harder the next day.
3. Increases Your Flexibility And Range Of Motion
Stretching daily helps increase your flexibility which is essential for your overall health. Improving your flexibility helps you complete everyday tasks with ease, prolongs the reduced mobility that comes with age, allows your joints to move more freely and with a complete range of motion.
4. May Heal And Prevent Back Pain
Did you know that back pain can stem from other parts of your body: hips, shoulders, feet, neck… Our back takes the brunt of the work in our everyday activities. When these other areas are out of alignment or have poor maneuverability we may actually feel the effects in our backs rather than in those areas. Stretching your entire body can help heal current back pain and prevent future back pain.
5. Improved Posture
The number one reason for poor posture is due to muscle imbalance. Stretching can specific muscle groups can reduce pain and encourage proper alignment.
6. Great For Stress Relief
Try it, the next time you are experiencing stress, stop what you are doing, take a few deep breaths and then stretch for 5 minutes. Stress both physical and emotional causes our muscles to tense up. Stretching loosens your tight muscles thus elevating some of that stress.
I mean have you ever heard anyone say stretching causes stress? Absolutely not! LOL, Stretching forces you to focus on yourself, to put the phone down, and to relax. Regular stretching can help you focus on meditation, mindfulness, and stress relief.
8. Improves Blood Flow
Stretching on a regular basis will improve your overall circulation, which can shorten recovery time and reduce muscle soreness.
2 Common Forms Of Stretching
Dynamic Stretches: These are active movement stretches that cause your muscles to stretch, but you do not hold these stretches for any length of time. Do these before your workout to prepare your muscles to reduce injury.
Static Stretches: These involve holding a stretch in a comfortable position for 10 – 30 seconds. Do these after your workout to aid your body in recovery and reduce injury.
How To Start Experiencing The Benefits Of Stretching
If you are new to stretching it is just like any other activity, take it slow, listen to your body, and don’t push your body beyond the point of comfort.
Take the time to learn the form of each stretch so that you don’t risk injury.
Stretching can be done at any time of the day. I love stretching in the morning, and before and after workouts.
- Try doing 5 minutes of Static stretches when you first wake up. I find that this helps to loosen up any stiffness from sleeping. It is important to move slowly through your morning stretches as your muscle are cold and are not as pliable.
- Then before any workout do 5 minutes of Dynamic stretches to prepare your body for the workout.
- Once you have finished your workout do another 5 minutes of Static stretches to aid in your recovery.
On days that you are not working out, it is still a good idea to spend a few minutes doing Dynamic stretching. Take a break mid-day just to get your body moving, get the blood flowing, and activate those muscles.
As you improve your stretching abilities, increase the amount of time you spend stretching each day.
Safety Tips To Enjoy The Benefits Of Stretching:
- If you have a current or chronic injury only complete stretches that are recommended by a doctor. A doctor can provide you with a stretching routine that will help improve your injury and will tell you when you are ready to move onto more difficult stretches.
- Bouncing of any kind while in a stretch should be avoided.
- Do not push yourself into a stretch that is uncomfortable. Yes, you want to feel the stretch but do not push yourself into a painful position. Over time you will become more flexible and you will be able to improve your stretching.