5 Top Reasons to Stretch

How often do you think of stretching as being a part of your workout?

It is, and in fact it is just as important. I do struggle to stretch enough especially before exercising and try to be consistent in stretching after training. As I get older I’m beginning to see the benefits of regular stretching.

My good friend is always trying to get me to go to her yoga class but if you’re anything like me and prefer to head out for a run instead or yoga isn’t your thing, then there is non-yoga stretching you can try.

So if stretching isn’t part of your regular activity, I have listed my top five reasons to start today!

1) Stretching improves flexibility by keeping your connective tissue & muscles loose and mobile. It helps with those every day tasks like tying your shoelaces, reaching for something from a cupboard and lifting objects. It gives you more range of motion by giving you better balance by keeping the tendons and ligaments lubricated, which gives you more agility and movement.

2) Your circulation will improve, fresh, oxygenated blood flows to the joints and muscles, and this yields a quicker healing time due to all the nutrients that blood provides.

3) Stretching can also act as a pain relief. For example stretching the hip flexors, quadriceps, hamstrings as well as the pelvis muscles can contribute to relief in the Lower Back. Stretching can also ease headaches by improving oxygen flow to the head.

4) Stretching is relaxing too as it acts as an antidote to stress, easing and loosening tight muscles. Stretching has been proven that it provides mental calmness and clarity therefore some people even use relaxation stretching to help cope with issues such as anxiety and depression.

5) Stretching can improve poor posture. I can hear my mum now telling me when I was a little girl to sit up straight whilst at the table! The ability to get out of bed with less stiffness is another great reason for me to stretch more too. Tight muscles lead to bad posture, but stretching those muscles can improve the alignment in your body. To target alignment and posture the most important areas to stretch that really benefit the body is the chest, neck, hip flexors, hamstrings. The most important areas to stretch to increase strength are the rhomboids situated in the upper back in-between the shoulder blades, abdominals, deep core, erector spinae which are the muscles that run along your vertebrae and the buttocks. We cannot forget other important muscle groups too; Shoulders, neck, arms, back, thighs and calves.

These stretching movements can be done everyday and if you’re super keen throughout your day regardless if you train or not and when you’re elderly you’ll thank yourself you did!

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