Did you know that regular stretching is just as important as regular exercise?

 

Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, as we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints. Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight. Most people probably neglect this aspect of their fitness regime, even though stretching has major benefits.For example, sitting in a chair all day results in tight hamstrings in the back of the thigh. That can make it harder to extend your leg or straighten your knee all the way, which inhibits walking. Likewise, when tight muscles are suddenly called on for a strenuous activity that stretches them, such as playing tennis, they may become damaged from suddenly being stretched. Injured muscles may not be strong enough to support the joints, which can lead to joint injury

Not only for your body but your mind as well, stretching can go a very long way. Even taking just 10 to 15 minutes of your day to stretch can significantly calm you down and reduce feelings of anxiety.  It gives your body the chance to recharge and provides your mind with a mental break.

Here are some of the health benefits of stretching.

For Your Body:

  • Help improve flexibility (increases your range of motion)
  • Assist in correct posture by lengthening tight muscles that pull areas of the body away from their intended position (because of so much time at our computers, many of us have tight chest muscles which pulls the shoulders and head forward, leaving us with a hunched shoulder look).
  • Potential to decrease injury by preparing muscles for work before activity
  • Increases blood and nutrient supply to muscles, thereby possibly reducing muscle soreness

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For Your Mind:

  • Even a short amount of time (10-15 minutes) of stretching can calm the mind, provide a mental break, and give your body a chance to recharge
  • Classes like yoga or pilates offer you a chance to spend an hour releasing tension physically and mentally.

Hold a stretch for 30 seconds. Don’t bounce, which can cause injury. You’ll feel tension during a stretch, but you should not feel pain. If you do, there may be an injury or damage in the tissue. Stop stretching that muscle, and talk to your doctor.

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