Stretching, as defined in the dictionary, is when something soft is made longer or wider without breaking or tearing. When we stretch our muscles, we increase the blood flow and circulation around the body and send oxygen to the brain. Stretching regularly improves our health and is a preventative of many degenerative diseases that occur in later life.
Flexibility and range of motion varies considerably from individual to individual. When incorporating a flexibility program into our routines we should aim to be flexible enough to move through our daily activities with ease. We do not need to be super flexible or like the Gumby ladies you see on YouTube, just enough flexibility to avoid injury will suffice.
Here are more reasons why we should stretch every day;
Improves your mood – When we get stressed our muscles contract and make us feel tense. Stretching helps loosens tight muscles which helps you to both relax and increase blood flow around the body. Stretching encourages the release of endorphins, providing a better sense of happiness and joy. Stretching directly before bed can even help you get to sleep easier and you sleep more consistently through the night.
Strengthens your posture – Stretching lengthens tight muscles that pull and pulls certain areas away from the body away in their intended position and keeps the muscles loose. Stretching helps relieve aches and pains by helping the body to stay in a better position which also aids better posture.
Aids flexibility – Improving flexibility and range of motion can help you your physical performance and help reduce your risk of injury. Improving your range of motion is important for functionality as your body will require less energy to make the same movements. Being more flexible is also very important in day to day living as you will decrease the risk of injuries and have the ability to move around will be a lot easier.
Improves stamina – Stretching loosens your muscles and tendons which relieves muscle fatigue and increases blood flow. The longer you exercise the more energy you burn, typically causing one to grow fatigued. With stretching, you can delay the onset of muscle fatigue by ensuring oxygen is efficiently flowing through your blood, thereby increasing your endurance.
Speeds up recovery process – Stretching helps supply nutrients and blood flow to the muscles which helps to reduce muscle soreness and increases the speed of recovery.
Improves energy levels – If you feel tired at your desk or are feeling a little bit low in energy, get up and do a few stretched to help you boost your energy. When we are sat for long periods of time our muscles shorten and we start to feel more lethargic. Check this article for a list of functional stretches to perform at work (coming soon)
Promotes blood circulation – As we have already established, stretching aids the movement of blood around the body. The greater movement of blood circulation helps promote cell growth and organ function. The heart rate will also lower since it doesn’t have to work as hard and blood pressure will become more even and consistent.
Increases athletic performance – Training with tight muscles groups is ineffective and will not allow you to work at your pest performance. Regular stretching will relax all of your muscles and therefore enable them to be more effective during exercise.
Reduces cholesterol – A long with a healthy diet is has been expressed that by taking part in regular stretching programs this can help reduce cholesterol and prevent heart diseases.
If you sit for long periods of time this causes tensions on other body parts and over the course of years your muscles start to degenerate.
It is important to STAY ACTIVE – Get up and stretch on a regular basis to activate these muscle groups