Stretching your body should be an essential part of your daily routine. It benefits your body in the long run, keeps you healthy and active, and also reduces your ageing process.
Stretching your body on a daily basis is a simple and healthy way to keep your body and mind active, which improves your lifespan significantly. This is a simple logic that most of the modern generations do not know. The present day fast culture and busy daily routines have made people’s life mechanical. For a person to be healthy, there should be a healthy balance between his mental and physical activities. However, the lack of proper physical activity and increased mental activity among people is only leading to stress, which in turn creates more health problems that speed up ageing process and reduce the life span. Therefore, it is important to understand the importance of stretching on a day to day basis, also for those who work out regularly, and people involved in vigorous physical activities like sports.
Importance of Stretching
Stretching your muscles increases the flexibility of your body and improves your joint range of motion. Stretching exercises are similar to Yoga and are an important part of any exercise or rehabilitation program. Stretching helps to warm up your body prior to an activity, thereby decreasing the risks of injuries and muscle soreness.
Since stretching increases your body’s flexibility, it improves your athletic performance and keeps you healthy. It eases your day to day tasks like tying your shoes, reaching for items in cabinets and lifting objects. Forgetting to stretch increases the body’s tendency to “stiffen” and thereby brings on ageing more rapidly. A sequence of stretching exercises is generally the easiest thing to do, and it benefits people of all ages.
Benefits of Stretching
Improves Blood Circulation
Stretching increases the blood flow to your muscles, which brings nourishment and eliminates waste byproducts from the muscle tissue. This improved blood circulation not only makes your body strong to combat any injuries, but also keeps you healthy in the long run.
Relief from Stress and Pain
Stretching keeps your body’s joints, tendons and ligaments lubricated. It relaxes the tight and tense muscles that are often associated with stressful life. It gives you good relief from chronic and acute conditions like back pain and arthritis.
Regular stretching keeps your muscles in healthy condition, protects them from getting tight, and allows you to maintain proper posture. A good posture in this modern life can minimize lot of discomfort and keep the aches and pains at minimum.
Stretching on a regular basis will make your body flexible and keep your mind active. This improves your coordination and balance that will keep you active and mobile even when you get older.
How to Stretch your Body
Now that we have learnt the advantages of stretching, we should also know how to do it in a safe and healthy way without hurting ourselves. Stretching can be done anytime, anywhere, be it in your home, park, at work or in a hotel. Areas to stretch typically include your neck, shoulders, chest, back, hips, thighs and calves. The proper steps to follow for an effective stretch are mentioned below:
Warm up first
Stretching muscles when they are cold can cause damage, so you should warm up your body first. You can go for a walk, gently pumping your arms, or do your favorite exercise for about five minutes.
Hold every stretch for at least 30 seconds
As you stretch various parts of your body, make sure to hold in the stretch for at least 30 seconds, up to 60 seconds. This will ensure lengthening of your tissues safely and effectively.
Do not bounce while you are stretching, because it can cause small tears in your muscles and create pain.
Practice pain-free stretch
While stretching, focus on pain-free movement. If you feel any pain as you stretch, back off to a point where you do not feel any pain and hold your stretch there.
It is important to relax and breathe freely while doing stretching exercises, one should not hold their breath.
Stretch both sides
Make sure to stretch on both sides of your body and balance your joint range of motion.
Stretch before and after activity
If you workout regularly, stretching before and after it would be the best way to keep yourself healthy.
Considering these health benefits, it is important to spare some time for stretching exercises on a regular basis. Mentioned below in the reference section is a guide to some basic stretches.
Stretching: Focus on flexibility
A guide to 10 basic stretches