Stretching is often thought of as an afterthought, but it is a key component of overall fitness and total wellness. Whether you’re an athlete, an active parent, or someone who works a desk job most of the day, stretching is essential. Stretching exercises don’t just increase your flexibility; they improve everything from blood circulation to muscle tension.
Don’t Confusion Stretching and Yoga
First things first, let’s be clear right off the bat. If you typically associate stretching with yoga mats and colorful leggings, you are missing the point! While traditional yoga incorporates focused stretching into various routines, stretching is something you can do entirely on your own, almost anywhere, and at any skill level.
Simply put, stretching is the deliberate lengthening of muscles that can help you not only improve your flexibility, but also your joint range of motion. It is a crucial component of wellness in rehabilitation programs, athletic routines, and also everyday life.
Health Benefits of Stretching
Stretching is not just something you should do regularly; you should aim to do it every single day, even if it’s just for a few seconds. Here are some of the mental and physical advantages of daily stretching that promote overall health and wellness.
- Improved Posture: Stretching helps with alignment along your spine by lengthening your muscle fibers. It also loosens tense, tight muscles to aid with posture and alleviate discomfort. Improving your posture is also healthy for your bones and joints.
- More Energy: Not only can you good a good endorphin boost from stretching, but you can also get a boost of energy. Stretching increases blood flow to your muscles and organs, giving you the sensation of energy and vitality.
- Improved Circulation: Combat blood clots, tingling sensations, and more by stretching because it increases blood flow to your muscles and organs. A healthy blood flow also eliminates waste and nourishes muscles.
- Injury Prevention: Stretching increases your flexibility and range of motion, which can prevent you from getting an injury such as a torn muscle. A pre-workout stretch routine will warm up your muscles for movement and help reduce the risks associated with injury.
- Enhanced Coordination: An increased range of motion can also help you have better balance and coordination. This is important for injury prevention and it can also be useful for certain physical activities, such as sports.
- Muscle Recovery: You should stretch both before and after exercise because it increases your blood flow to help deliver nutrients to your muscles. It can also help reduce the feeling of muscle fatigue that is common post-workout.
Stretch Daily as a Habit
To fully reap the benefits of stretching, make it a standing part of your daily routine. Take a few moments to stretch after you get out of bed and also before you get into bed. If you sit at a desk all day, take hourly stretch breaks to move your body and increase blood flow. If you want to take stretching to the next level, you might want to give yoga or pilates a try. However you decide to incorporate stretching into your routine, make it a habit that you won’t forsake – not just as it relates to exercise, but as it relates to your overall health.