Stretching can benefit everyone regardless of sex, age, flexibility and activity level. Stretching should be a part of everyone’s daily routine. Stretching can be done while standing, sitting, laying down and basically whenever and wherever you are.
Benefits of Stretching:
- Increased Range of Motion (ROM) and Flexibility- As we age, our muscles tighten and our range of motion deteriorates. Which means your limbs and joints can’t move as far as they used to, before an injury occurs. This can make everyday chores and activities such as walking, lifting, turning and bending more difficult and stressful on our bodies. A regular stretching program can help lengthen and relax your muscles and make daily living activities easier. Good range of motion can improve agility, which in turn will help stability and balance. Consequently, the occurrence of falls and their related injuries can be reduced.
- Relieve Tension and related stress and pain- All aerobic and strength training programs inherently cause your muscles to contract and flex. In fact, every time you move, your muscles are flexing and tightening. This accumulates tension. That is why regular stretching is a powerful part of any fitness program. Stretching also relaxes the tense muscles that often accompany stress and pain.
- Better Posture & Circulation- Chronically tense muscles contribute to poor posture and decreased blood circulation, which in turn can affect the functioning of our internal organs and systems, not to mention our appearance and mobility. Stretching can help keep the body in better alignment and improve posture. Good posture can minimize discomfort and keep aches and pains at a minimum. Stretching also increases blood flow to your muscles. Blood flowing to your muscles brings nourishment and gets rid of waste byproducts in the muscle tissue. Improved circulation can speed recovery after certain muscle injuries. Improved circulation has many health benefits.
- Stretching “feels” good- Endorphins are chemicals produced in the brain, which bind to neuro-receptors to give relief from pain. Discovered in 1975, endorphins are believed to: relieve pain, enhance the immune system, reduce stress, and delay the aging process. Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins, sending these chemicals throughout the body. Endorphin release varies from person to person; some people will feel an endorphin rush, or second wind, after jogging for 10 minutes. Others will jog for half an hour before their second wind kicks in.
Flex4Fitness Special Tip:
You don’t have to exercise vigorously to stimulate endorphin release: meditation, acupuncture, stretching, massage therapy, even eating spicy food or breathing deeply – these all cause your body to produce endorphins naturally. Endorphins are important for maintaining mental health.
Stretching is a natural activity for all of us. Have you ever noticed that when you remain in a sedentary position for a while, your muscles begin to tighten and you instinctively stretch to loosen your muscles?