We all know how important exercise is and how it can help keep us healthy. However, did you know that stretching also has its advantages? Stretching at the right time can help keep the body loose and limber, as well as help you avoid injuries. Read on to learn more benefits of stretching and how you can incorporate it into your daily routine.
Why Stretching Is Vital
Stretching is a great way to boost your flexibility. It keeps the muscles strong, healthy and lean, which helps you maintain a good range of motion in your joints. When you don’t stretch, the muscles can become tight and short, which increases the risk of strains and muscle damage during exercise. Additional benefits of stretching include the following:
- Reduced inflammation: Stretching your muscles can help bring proper alignment to the joints, which enhances your mobility in addition to reducing inflammation and body aches.
- Stress relief: The neck, shoulders and upper back are muscles that usually become tense from stress. Fortunately, stretching can help relax the body and loosen the muscles.
- Improved mental health: Having a regular stretching routine can help keep your mind calm. You can even practice mindfulness or meditation while stretching.
- Enhanced posture: Poor posture is often a result of imbalanced muscles. Stretching encourages proper muscle alignment and reduces musculoskeletal pain. This can improve your ability to complete daily activities.
- Better circulation: Extending your muscles boosts blood flow, which enhances oxygen levels and the number of nutrients that reach your muscles. Moreover, it can even remove metabolic waste from the body, including carbon dioxide and ammonia.
How to Incorporate Stretching Into Your Routine
Check out these tips to make stretching a habit!
When you start stretching for the first time, commit to a few stretches and hold them for a several minutes. If your muscles are tight and it feels uncomfortable, try holding your stretches for about 30 seconds. You can stretch in the morning or even multiple times a day.
Consider trying these stretches:
- Cobra pose
- Wall lay
- Wrist stretch
- Seated forward bend
Place Your Equipment in a High-Traffic Spot
It can be easy to avoid stretching or even postpone it to the following day. However, maintaining a regular routine can help boost your flexibility quicker than doing it sparingly. Consider keeping your yoga mat, foam roller or block in an area where you can see it daily. This can serve as a reminder to complete your daily stretches.
Stretch Before and After a Workout
Before starting a workout, consider stretching your muscles to help loosen them up and reduce stiffness. This can help you feel full flexibility to crush your workout. Similarly, stretching after exercise can reduce pain and the risk of injury. In fact, tight muscles are more prone to injury.
Stretch at Work
If you work at a desk all day, chances are you might often have body aches or tight muscles. To combat this, try completing a few stretches to help loosen the neck, shoulders and back. You can even complete some while sitting in your office chair, such as the seated spine twist or the one arm hug.
To learn more about the benefits of stretching and how you can incorporate it into your daily routine, see the accompanying resource.
AUTHOR BIO: Dan Borucki is an ISSA Certified Fitness Coach and Personal Trainer at Re|Claim Fitness. He is committed to providing a level of service that is focused on the individual, whatever his or her needs and goals may be. Borucki strives to encourage, support and challenge his clients to feel stronger, healthier and more confident.
Infographic provided by Reclaim Fitness, personal trainer in New Lenox