Many of my new patients think that stretching is something specifically for athletes. They could not be more wrong! What they do not understand is that building muscle and working on cardiovascular health tells only half of the story. Stability and stretching give you the complete tale. Daily stretching is not just about flexibility!
“A lot of people don’t understand that stretching has to happen on a regular basis. It should be daily,” says David Nolan, a physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.
Daily stretching is essential to maintain good physical health and a state of wellbeing. Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a good range of motion in our joints. Most people know that stretching will improve flexibility but don’t know that regular stretching also improves:
- muscle function
- mental health
There are many additional benefits to daily stretching too!
Stretching improves flexibility as it loosens and lengthens muscles and allows joints to move freely. This decreases the likelihood of tearing, straining for spraining muscles, ligaments, and tendons while doing daily activities and exercise.
Did you know that stretching can reverse damage caused by bad posture by realigning joints which over time allows or better posture?
As an added benefit when you stretch regularly you increase the blood flow to your brain which helps you to stay mentally focused, calm and improved flexibility decreases physical tension in your muscles.
When you stretch you increase the blood flow which brings oxygen and nutrients to the muscles and carries away waste material. An increase in blood flow to your muscles has a positive effect on your energy levels because your muscles are more efficient at using the oxygen and nutrients when it needs them.
How to Stretch
Stretching is most effective when you hold for 30-60 seconds at a time in a pain-free range of motion. Never stretch into pain. In this case no pain – no strain!
The best time to stretch is after activity or at the end of the day when muscles are warm/have been used. If you stretch in the morning begin gently and slowly ease into your stretches.
Practicing yoga is another way to incorporate stretching into your life. Yoga typically includes two types of stretching. Static (held) stretches where one position is held for an extended period of time. Dynamic stretches where you move in and out of a stretched position with smooth movements. There is even yoga to help you sleep better!
A great tool that I highly recommend is a foam roller. Use regularly to apply pressure, mobilize soft tissue, and stretch muscles will help you improve flexibility, circulation and alleviate chronic tightness and pain throughout your body.
Click here to access my simple stretching routine that you can do every day. The Access Code is: Access code: JH6NX6FP
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