The Benefits Of Stretching
For many people, stretching can be seen as an instinctive, natural action. Take for example, stretching upon waking from sleep.
A lot of emphasis is put on keeping physically active during the week, however there isn’t so much on a regular stretching routine, which is just as important.
The Benefits Of Stretching: For The Body
The most obvious benefit of stretching is to help improve both the range of motion and the flexibility of your muscles and body. As we grow older, muscles have a tendency to become tighter, leading to a reduced range of motion in the joints. This lack of flexibility can have a knock on effect, causing movement to become less fluid and slower, potentially resulting in muscle strains. This can then in turn hinder day-to-day activities, especially those with active lifestyles. Over time, chronically tight and tense muscles can lead to poor posture.
A proper stretching routine targeting muscles in the chest, shoulders and lower back helps to align the spine and improve your overall posture. Improvements in balance and coordination are often welcome side effects of an increase in flexibility.
Whether or not stretching helps to prevent injury is still a widely debated subject, however it has been proven that stretching helps to increase blood flow to the muscles. An increase in blood flow to the muscles means more nutrients are delivered to the muscles, resulting in less muscle soreness and faster recovery times from muscle and joint injuries. This makes it generally easier to exercise and work those same muscles throughout the week.
The Benefits Of Stretching: For The Mind
You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t suffer from some kind of stress. Over time, muscles can become tense due to a build-up of stress, eventually spreading out to practically every part of your body. Flexibility exercises are a fantastic way to overcome stress and spending just 10-15 minutes stretching every day can help you to achieve a calm mind, which in turn allows your body sufficient time to recharge.
Focus On The Muscles That Most Need It
Rather than stretching every muscle in your body, try focusing on specific areas of your body. This will allow you to spend more time on each area of the body, targeting the muscles with a wide array of different stretches. Try to become aware of the muscles that are holding more tension than others and start with these ones first.