Reasons Why You Should Be Stretching Regularly

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Stretching is an essential, but often overlooked component of fitness, and general everyday life. You may think of it as something only runners and gymnasts should perform, but it is completely necessary for everyone, to help avoid mobility issues and a whole range of other problems. Most people would consider it to be unexciting and boring, but it massively contributes to health and wellbeing.

Source: NDTV Food

Stretching is a form of physical exercise in which a specific muscle, tendon or muscle group is deliberately flexed or stretched in order to improve muscle elasticity and prevent muscle imbalance that can lead to injury. Stretching can be passive or active, and these can be either dynamic or static. Passive stretching doesn’t involve the person stretching to have to do much work; examples include lifting a leg onto a platform to stretch the hamstring, or having a partner pull the targeted muscles. In contrast, active stretching would be flexing toes while sitting with your legs extended, as this stretches the calves by tightening the muscles.

Controlled movements such as leg and arm swings are considered dynamic stretching, which bring the muscles close to their range of motion limit without exceeding it. Stretching and holding the muscle just beyond its normal range of motion is static stretching. Dynamic stretches are ideal for warm ups and prepare the muscle for an activity. Static ones are generally for after workouts or any activity, to increase the flexibility of the muscles that have been tightened during.

Flexibility helps maintain a range of motion in the joints, and stretching helps keep muscles flexible and strong. Even for people who aren’t into fitness, stretching will help keep muscles healthy, as sitting in a chair all day tightens the leg muscles, particularly hamstrings, and this makes it more difficult to extend your leg and straighten your knee all the way. Reducing this muscle stiffness will make day-to-day life more comfortable and you’ll feel much better when at home, work or during your chosen leisure activities.

Source:Fitbit Blog

Reducing your risk of injury is another great reason to stretch. If you make a sudden move, a flexible muscle is much less likely to become injured. Resistance on the body’s muscles decreases through stretching and increasing the range of motion, and this helps prevent unwanted problems. Muscle groups prone to developing excessive tightness are calves, hamstrings, hip flexors and hip adductors. If measures aren’t taken to stretch properly, or even at all, lack of flexibility in these muscles can lead to compensatory movement patterns. These can include heels lifting off the ground or toes rotating outward and knees collapsing inward when performing movements such as squatting or landing.

Poor posture can be improved by stretching. To keep your back in better alignment, it’s important to stretch the muscles in the lower back, shoulders and chest. Good posture helps with so many health aspects. Breathing is easier with good posture and it allows the effects of gravity to be felt evenly across your whole body, as this force can be a hard burden to handle with bad posture. It can even help with digesting food, avoiding injury and to make you look more confident. Stretching to improve posture is especially recommended for people with less active lifestyles, as sitting down often causes many people to slouch, and lack of muscle strength can pull parts of your body into positions that lead to poor posture. For more reasons on why posture matters, read this article from Harvard Health Publishing – Harvard Medical School.

Circulation is promoted by muscle stretching, by increasing blood flow to the muscles. Oxygen and nutrients are therefore more easily carried around the body, to your organs and muscles, and this improves body functionality. Increased oxygen flow also prevents muscle soreness and helps you to breathe easier.

Although people can consider stretching to be dull, it will perk you up and increase energy levels. Our bodies can feel uncomfortable or lethargic when muscles are tense and strained. Muscle soreness leads to tiredness and a lack of motivation to carry out everyday tasks. However, by stretching, it relieves us of all these issues and makes us feel more energised. This relates to the previous point, of improved circulation, as the increased oxygen flow around the body will give it, and the mind a boost. Stretching releases the same endorphins that exercise does and this helps with mental health and overall wellbeing.

Source: Verywell Fit

Speaking of the mind, stretching is a great way to look after your mental health. It can be extremely relaxing and can provide a calm environment that provides you with a mental break, even if only stretching for a short amount of time, ten to fifteen minutes. People relax in different ways, some by reading, some by spending time with friends and some by playing online slots on RoseSlots.com. Stretching is agreed by people universally as a great way to relax. Your body will have time to recharge and block out the world for a little while. During simple stretches, close your eyes and let your mind focus on your body and forget about life’s thoughts and worries. As the body is less tense and muscles are working efficiently, you are more likely to be generally calm throughout the day, rather than stressing over aches and pains.

Becoming a stretching master will not occur overnight! Improving flexibility is difficult and takes dedication and a consistent approach. No one will go from struggling to touch their toes to doing the splits in a week, but it is always good to have small stretching goals to work towards, whether its flexibility, relaxation or enjoyment. Holding stretches for around thirty seconds is ideal, and this can be built up over time. Tension should be felt during stretching, but not pain, as this could be a sign of an injury.

So what are you waiting for? Get stretching now, and if you need help on where to start, this blog has some great easy-to-follow stretches.

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