Body-Wide Benefits of Regular Stretching

Body-Wide Benefits of Regular Stretching

Stretching can provide a wealth of benefits for you before and after a workout, or even if you don't work out at all. Stretches are simple exercises that increase flexibility and build muscle and aerobic strength. Among other advantages, stretching may also increase your range of motion and lower your risk of injury. Here are many of the benefits that regular stretching can offer you:

 Improve Flexibility and Range of Motion
Through stretching, you can improve your flexibility. A more flexible person will move around and complete simple, everyday tasks more quickly and easily. Better flexibility may also help delay the symptoms of aging, such as worsened mobility and frequent muscle and joint aches. Furthermore, regular stretching can help a person move more freely, comfortably, and effectively during physical activity. This is because it increases a person's capacity to move a joint over their complete range of motion.

Relieve Muscle Tension and Pain
Stretching is especially helpful to those that work long hours sitting down or are generally idle. When you spend too much time in the same position, your muscles will adapt. They will start to shorten, making larger or different movements feel tighter and slightly painful or uncomfortable. Performing regular stretches that target specific muscles or muscle groups can ease discomfort and relieve the tension built up from a long duration of inactivity. If your work is sedentary, try to stand up every hour or two and do five minutes of stretching. As you continue this routine, you'll find that common stiffness starts to fade away.

 Improves Circulation
When you move, your blood circulates more thoroughly than it does when you're sedentary. Good blood circulation is important because it helps to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the cells in the body. It also helps to remove waste products from the cells. Stretching will increase blood flow to your muscles, strengthening them and preparing them for more activity. Stretching can also eliminate metabolic wastes, which can be toxic to the body if they build up too much in your blood or tissue.

 Fix Your Posture
Bad posture can cause muscle imbalances and pain in the joints. Many people report that bad posture is a large cause of neck, shoulder, and back pain. It can also lead to problems with digestion and breathing over time. Stretching regularly could help to realign a correct posture by targeting the affected muscles. Many upright stretches are done with a straightened back and fixed foot position. As your body exercises with daily stretching, it will acclimate and set your muscles and joints into better, healthier positions.

A Form of Relaxation that Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Stretching is as good for the mind as it is for the body. It's a great exercise for the mind because it increases blood flow to the brain, which can help improve cognitive function. As your body loses tension, you release dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. These neurotransmitters decrease anxiety and depression and provide us with the right motivation to get us through the day or our next exercise. It's a way to show your body appreciation, and giving it the love and attention it needs can send that positive energy back to your brain.

 Take Your Physical Performance to the Next Level
Stretching before exercise can help prevent injuries by warming up the muscles and increasing the range of motion. This means your body will have a much lesser chance of holding you back, whether you're exercising for health or a high-performance sport. Stretching will keep you limber and stave off significant injuries that a tenser, less flexible body might face. It can also help you improve your balance, as it can identify which areas of your body are tighter than others. If you notice that it's harder to stretch one side in the other, it could indicate a significant imbalance in your body. As you learn more about your body through stretching, be sure to target tighter areas for a thorough amount of time. When your body is properly balanced, you'll be able to perform at peak levels.

 Increase Your Energy
Stretching can increase energy because it increases blood flow and flexibility, which can lead to improved performance and less fatigue. It's an energizing way to start the day when you get out of bed or if you need a quick mental refresh during work. Stretching will shake off some of the drowsiness you might be feeling and increase your productivity. As mentioned earlier, it can give you the motivation you need to get through the last stretch of the day while making your body an overall healthier one in the process.

Getting Started
Here are a few easy stretches you can perform every day, either when you wake up, before a workout, or taking a break at your desk. The more you do these, the easier they'll become and the more benefit you'll get from them.

Upper Back Stretch
1. Stand straight, then stretch your arms out above or in front of you, and cover one of your hands with the other.
2. Reach out slowly, as far as you can, and feel your shoulder blades begin to lose tension.
3. Breathe in and out slowly, and repeat this stretch for around 30 seconds
4. Optionally, you can bend your neck forward as you stretch your arms to stretch your neck, as well.

 Shoulder Rolls
1. Keep your arms parallel with your body and stand as straight as you can.
2. Rotate your shoulders gently forward in large circles.
3. After a few repetitions, make the same motion, but in the opposite direction.
4. Repeat for about 30 seconds.

 Standing Quadriceps Stretch
1. Stand straight and balance on one foot. Grab your non-planted leg by the shin and bend it behind you.
2. Focus on form; your knee should be pointed at the ground. Keep your leg straight and bring your shin as close to your glutes as possible.
3. Switch to the other foot after holding this pose for around 15 to 30 seconds.

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