Sometimes, in our ever so busy lives where we are always rushing from one appointment to the next social gathering, stretching can feel like a waste of time when you’re trying to get a good sweat in.
But what we don’t always consider is that stretching holds as many benefits as exercise itself. They may not be as visible, but you can’t deny the facts: that stretching improves the health of both the mind and body, especially when it is done regularly.
What are these so called “benefits”? Who even has time to stretch? What is so great about stretching anyways?
As we age, our muscles shrink and tighten. Maintaining a good range of motion is key in doing everyday things like tying your shoes, vacuuming, yardwork, you get the idea. Stretching regularly can improve flexibility by lengthening your muscles, allowing you to exercise more comfortably on the reg. It also decreases your risk getting injured while being active, which can be helpful if you tend to lose motivation to exercise or switch up your routine.
Stretching increases your blood flow and improves your circulation. It helps by healing our muscles and alleviating the pain associated with soreness. With all that good blood circulating throughout your bod, nutrients flood your cells and flush out toxins.
With increased circulation, comes better posture. Those of you who sit at a desk all day, or stand on hard surfaces for long hours, probably experience chronic pain from having overly tight muscles. When this happens, we tend to hunch over and look like trolls. Investing in a foam roller and practicing a quick nightly stretch routine would be a good start at preventing irreversible damage.
Like exercise, stretching can impact the mind in a positive way as well. Increased blood flow relaxes the muscles, including those tense from stress. The mind releases endorphins, giving one a greater sense of well being and self confidence. Basically, it is an easy pick-me-up if you’re starting to lose steam around 3pm like I usually do. No afternoon coffee or sugar rush, just take 5 to stretch your limbs and you’ll spruce up in a sec.
Hopefully after reading this, you recognize how beneficial a quick stretch sesh can be. And if you think I am just making this up, take the word of famed physical trainers like Jillian Michaels and Kayla Itsines, spiritual gurus like Deepak Chopra, and a zillion other famed wellness professionals who can back me up. It’s all about time management and committing to the task. Do it in the morning before you hop in the shower, or at the end of your day before you go to bed. Your muscles will thank you!