7 Ways Stretching Can Improve Your Health and Wellness
Any pro athlete will tell you that warming up and cooling down properly is just as important as the workout itself. Both of these practices help prevent injury, prepare you for the workout ahead, and allow you to experience all the benefits of your chosen physical activity.
However, stretching is not just a part of quality post-workout routines. It is a great aid in helping you stay healthy and live your best life.
Let’s look at seven ways stretching can improve your wellbeing.
1. Improving Your Flexibility
The first thing that comes to mind when we talk about stretching is flexibility. In fact, if your muscles are rather stiff, you’ll find stretching to be uncomfortable or even painful.
The more you stretch, however, the nimbler your muscles will become, and you will find you have an improved range of motion to boot.
Start your stretching routine slowly, and don’t pull hard. If you feel uncomfortable, move back into a neutral position.
2. Improving Your Circulation
Stretching is also a great way to improve blood circulation. As you stretch, blood flow is improved and cells all over your body get more oxygen, which makes them healthier.
Stretching also lowers your heart rate. This, in turn, stabilizes your blood pressure and reduces the strain put on your heart. Your heart pumps smoothly for longer, keeping you healthy and fit.
3. Boosting Your Energy Levels
You will often hear recommendations to do some stretches in the morning in order to wake yourself up. That’s because a couple of stretches will indeed improve your blood flow, and this will result in a burst of morning energy.
If you feel sluggish during the day, especially if you are sitting at a desk a lot, try getting up and doing some stretches. Properly stretching your quad muscles will keep your legs from feeling stiff, and you’ll be much more comfortable when you sit back down to work.
You can create a reminder for yourself that will go off every couple of hours, reminding you to get up and give your muscles a bit of a stretch.
4. Boosting Muscle Stamina
Sore and heavy muscles can’t do as much as rested and properly stretched muscles.
If you just end your workout without a cool down and a stretch, you may find yourself experiencing muscle soreness for days afterward. Stretching may not be able to prevent this discomfort completely, but if you do stretch well, your muscles will be able to recover better and faster.
You will help reduce the inflammation and remove lactic acid from your muscles, thus helping them feel ready for your next workout. Without the soreness and stiffness in your muscles, you’ll certainly tackle that next workout better.
5. Improving Your Posture
When we sit at a desk a lot, our posture tends to suffer. We begin to slouch, our shoulders get rounded, our lower back becomes stiff, and we start to feel less and less comfortable.
To keep your back straight, you need to continuously keep stretching your shoulder, back, and chest muscles. This will prevent them from shortening and misaligning your spine and other bones, which is what tends to happen when muscles are not used properly.
Establish a morning routine of stretching your whole body, and you’ll notice you are less fidgety when sitting in front of a screen for a long time.
6. Decreasing the Risk of Injury
Even if you don’t work out, muscle stiffness and soreness can still cause an injury. Likewise, muscles that are not in regular use are more likely to spasm and suffer from a movement they are not used to. You may try to lift a heavy object or just bend at an awkward angle and find you have pulled a muscle or otherwise injured yourself.
Regular stretching can help you prevent these injuries by keeping your muscles healthy and well-oxygenated.
7. Decreasing Your Stress Levels
Finally, stretching is a great way to relieve stress, both the mental and physical kind.
It can help you relax, especially as your muscle tension eases and you begin to feel less wound up and tight.
If you also incorporate some meditation into your stretching routine, perhaps once a day or once every couple of days, you’ll find yourself less stressed out and feeling more positive.
Stretching is incredibly beneficial for both your body and your mind. While it may feel quite a bit uncomfortable when you first start doing it, the longer you keep up your stretching routine, the better you will feel and the healthier you will be. Give stretching a try – it doesn’t have to take more than 10-15 minutes at first, and you will notice the benefits quite soon.