Many people think of stretching as something we do before or after a workout, but research shows we should actually think differently about stretching. Stretching should be something done daily, as part of healthy lifestyle, similar to making good choices with food and exercise. Here are 4 reasons why stretching is vital to your overall health:
1. Reduces Risk of Joint Pain and Injury
As we age, our muscles naturally shorten and become tighter. Those tight muscles put us as risk of injury when we exercise – or when we are even completing everyday tasks like climbing stairs. We must counteract these natural occurrences with regular stretching to keep the muscles long, lean, and pliable, supporting healthy joints and range of motion.
2. Blood Flow Increases
When we stretch, we are promoting healthy circulation throughout our entire body. Healthy blood flow staves off a variety of ailments and will help shorten recovery time after surgery or exercise.
3. Provides Stress Relief
In a fast-paced society, stressors present themselves around every corner. Stretching regularly is yet another way to reduce stress in your life. Releasing the tension in your muscles releases endorphins to calm and soothe. This is also a great time for a “brain break,” letting your mind wander and break from the busyness of your daily grind.
4. Prevents Back Pain
Stretching keeps all of your muscles from straining, because when they do, they have a tendency to affect posture, which can lead to back pain. If you are experiencing back pain, regular stretching in your legs, hip flexors, and back may help reduce the symptoms.
Ready to make stretching a part of your daily routine? Take 5-10 minutes a day to practice deep breathing and stretching. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds, remaining still while doing the stretch without bobbing or overexerting yourself. If you are exercising, warm the muscles up before stretching in order to prevent injuries.