What comes to mind when you think of
ways to keep fit? Running? Lifting weights? Spinning?
How about stretching? While you’ll
see athletes stretching before a run and aerobics instructors stretching
after exercise, many of us overlook the importance of stretching.
We’re not just talking about stretching before and
after exercise either. Stretching benefits so many different aspects of our
health and wellbeing that it’s something we should all be doing every day,
regardless of whether we’ve exercised or not.
Are you keen to learn more about the
benefits of stretching? Keep reading to find out how stretching could help you!
Benefits of Stretching
To understand how important daily
stretching is, let’s take a look at some of the different ways stretching
can improve your health:
Flexibility and Range of Motion
– Regular stretching can increase
your flexibility and range of motion, making it easier to perform everyday
activities with ease. Stretching every day also helps delay the reduced
mobility that can come as we age.
Circulation – Stretching out your muscles gets your blood flowing
to your muscles and can improve your circulation.
Pain Relief – Stretching helps strengthen your muscles to relieve
existing pain and prevent future pain as a result of muscle strain, especially
in your back, legs, hips, and shoulders.
Stress and Tension Headaches – Stretching can also release tension in your
body, helping to relieve physical and emotional stress and reduce the
chance of tension headaches.
Posture – By strengthening the muscles in your back and shoulders,
stretching can help pull your body into an upright position for improved
Mood – Slow and purposeful stretching can boost your
mood by encouraging focus and mindfulness, while also helping the endocrine system generate feel-good hormones.
Energy – The best stretches offer a natural energy boost,
waking up your body and mind by stimulating the flow of oxygen and blood
throughout your body.
to Start a Stretching Routine
Now you know how you can
benefit from regular stretching, what are the best stretches to practice
Start off with stretches that feel
easy and natural, like stretching out your arms and back when you wake up. You
can then incorporate effective stretches for areas such as your
hips, or wherever you tend to experience muscle tightness. Over time, you’ll
learn how to stretch each muscle, pushing yourself further for optimal results.
But make sure to go slow and don’t overreach before you’re ready.
As for when to stretch, taking five
minutes out of your morning is a great way to turn this healthy practice into a
habit. You’ll find that the energy boost that stretching provides is a
great way to wake your mind and body up. Likewise, taking five minutes out of
your day to stretch is a great way to get your blood and energy flowing
after long periods of sitting or to fight that mid-afternoon energy
Guide to the Importance of Stretching
You may have overlooked the
importance of stretching in the past. But now you know how stretching
benefits everything from your mood to your posture, we’re sure you won’t be
making that mistake any longer!
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