Everyone knows that exercise is a part of healthy living, but do you consider a stretching routine part of your exercise program, or as an afterthought that gets done if “time permits?” Since no one ever has enough time, you may want to reconsider how you view exercise, as there are so many benefits to a stretching program. Everyone can learn to stretch, regardless of age or flexibility. Stretching should be a part of your daily routine, whether you exercise or not. It does not have to involve a huge amount of time, but stretching can end up giving you huge results! Following are five of the most important benefits of stretching:
Reduced muscle tension
Increased range of movement in the joints
Enhanced muscular coordination
Increased circulation of the blood to various parts of the body
Increased energy levels (resulting from increased circulation)
How Do These Benefits Help You? Stretching helps you in many unusual and amazing ways. Stretching is not a prelude to an exercise program and many physicians recommend that a person does some quick aerobic exercises to warm up or prepare for exercising. New reports explain that there may be many benefits of stretching on a routine basis, even if you don’t have a workout to do or are not a jogger. Following are some of the most amazing stretching benefits for you to consider on adding stretching to your routine. The following benefits all contribute to a healthier you! Infuses You with Optimism People who are stressed often have muscles contract. In turn, these muscle contractions give you a physiological and emotional feeling of tenseness and overall uneasiness. When you feel these sensations, try stretching since it loosens muscles that are tight and simultaneously increases blood flow. Stretching has also been shown in studies to aid in the release of endorphins, a natural body substance that helps you attain a feeling of joy and serenity. Stretching when you wake up is a great way to start your day; stretching before bedtime will help optimize your sleep. Stretching is a Great Midday Pick-Me-Up Most people feel a little lethargic around mid-afternoon. If this describes you, try some stretching at your desk. Often, people who suffer these mid-afternoon groggy attacks find that stretching gives them an energy boost. When we feel lethargic our muscles tighten; stretching loosens these muscles, making standing at your desk and doing a few stretches an effective way to combat afternoon groggy attacks. Lower Your Cholesterol People who partake of prolonged stretching exercises and eat a healthy diet can help reduce cholesterol. In turn, reductions in cholesterol can prevent and may even reverse hardening of the arteries. Stretching also serves to aid in avoiding heart disease. Better Blood Circulation A stretching routine increases blood flow to your muscles. This, in turn, gives you two benefits that are:
Reductions in post-athletic soreness and recovery time; and
Improvement of your overall health.
These are functions of greater blood flow helping promote cell growth as well as organ function. Additionally, your heart rate will slow down as it has less work to do, while your blood pressure becomes more uniform and constant. Makes You More Flexible True, this is an expected result of stretching that some may argue is not amazing. But, did you know that improved flexibility results in an improved range of motion making your body work less making the same movements you do without stretching? Also, stretching lessens the likelihood of injuries during exercises or sports activities. Stretching Improves Your Posture When you stretch you lengthen tight muscles that tend to pull parts of your body away from their intended positions, keeping your muscles loose, especially in your back torso. This helps keep your spine in the best possible alignment and relieve backaches and back pain. When back pain is alleviated, you tend to slouch less too.
Hold those stretches for a few seconds and see how much better you feel!
Take it a step further and ask us about "Assisted Stretching" here in the clinic:
Our body sends out signals telling us when we’re reaching the limits of our mobility. Assisted stretching, which uses a technique called proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF), helps to reprogram these signals.
The result is that you’re able to safely extend your muscles further before your body yells, ‘Stop!’