You’ve got as many as 840 muscles in your body. When was the last time you stretched them?
You eat right, get your heart rate up, and pump iron. All of these things combined aren’t as effective with a stretching routine.
If you’re concerned about your health, you need to add a good stretching session to your every day life. As a big plus, you don’t need a lot of experience to do it right.
There are tons of great reasons to stretch your body. Here are seven benefits to stretching that you need to know!
1. Increase Flexibility
The first and most obvious benefit of stretching is that it increases your flexibility. Flexibility is just as important as cardiovascular stamina or how much weight you can lift.
In fact, being more flexible works in harmony with your cardio and weight lifting goals. You’ll be more well-rounded if you stretch with the goal of becoming more flexible.
Your muscles can grow tight and rigid, resulting in pain if you move suddenly or try a new exercise routine. Staying limber prevents injury and allows you to do a wide range of activities.
2. Reduces Stress
Stress shows up in our body in clenched fists, grinding teeth, tight shoulders, and more. If you’ve ever had a really stressful day, you might’ve felt aches and pains in your body.
Tight muscles can contribute to stress and make a bad day even worse. Take a moment to stretch it out to release the tension you’re storing in your body.
Next time you’re stressing out at the office, take a moment to do a few stretches. There are plenty of moves you can do right at your desk and you won’t need to break out the yoga mat.
It’s not just the physical aspect of stress that stretching can help with. Taking a moment to perform a few movements can help you be present and refocus your mind.
3. Increase Circulation
You do cardio so that your heart grows strong enough to pump blood all over your body. Stretching, too, can give your circulatory system a boost.
Here’s why: your heart and gravity moves your blood through the arteries and down your body. To get back up to the heart, the force from your muscles squeezes them and forces blood up to your heart.
Stretching makes that process much more efficient. That efficiency also gets nutrients to your muscles quicker, helping them grow stronger, starting the cycle all over again.
4. Manage and Minimize Pain
We mentioned how great stretching is to improve flexibility and range of motion in your joints. It’s also a smart way to manage and minimize any kind of aches or pains you feel.
If you don’t move often, you increase your risk of injury. You’ll feel tight and sore if you don’t exercise on a regular basis.
Even a few light stretches keep your limber. Even if you can’t exercise a lot or are recovering from illness or surgery, you can find a way to incorporate a few moves into your everyday routine.
It’s important to be gentle and avoid overexerting yourself. Talk to your doctor if you’re interested in learning how to treat pain at home with stretching.
5. Improved Posture
Poor posture can cause back pain, put your spine out of alignment, hurt your joints, and more. Things like the way we sit and stand can affect our posture, but there’s a way to fix it.
Stretching lengthens and strengthens the muscles that run along the spine. Not only will your muscles grow stronger, they’ll be more flexible, allowing for a greater range of spinal motion.
When done right, stretching exercises can keep your spine in alignment. You’ll stand taller and have less neck and back pain.
6. Boost Your Energy
Doing a little stretch in the middle of the day can give you a little pick-me-up. Boost your energy with just a few minutes of light stretching.
The increased blood flow and a few moments of movement can help focus your mind and perk you up. Try it next time you feel like you need a nap.
7. Be a Better Athlete
If you love to train hard or are trying to meet an athletic goal, you can’t ignore the health benefits of stretching. You need stretching to achieve the benchmarks you’re going for.
With better blood flow, your muscles need less recovery time after an intense sweat session. You’ll perform better once you add stretching to your training routine.
As a bonus, stretching can give you the mental focus you need to meet higher goals. Stretching out your muscles helps you become a more well-rounded athlete.
How to Stretch Right
We know you’re eager to start stretching. If you start without knowing the proper form, you can actually injure yourself.
There’s a right way and a wrong way to stretch. Follow these tips to make sure you reap the most rewards.
First, stretching isn’t a warm up. Wake your muscles up by going for a brisk walk beforehand.
Don’t bounce when you stretch. Stop stretching if you feel more pain than tension.
Focus on your major muscle groups, like your legs, neck and shoulders, and hips and back. Stretch both sides equally and try to get the same amount of flexibility on both sides.
If you play a sport and use one part of your body more than others, focus your stretching there. Gentle movements, like those used in Tai Chi, can help joints, flexibility, and balance.
Enjoy the Benefits of Stretching
The benefits of stretching don’t end there. Once you start stretching on a regular basis, you’re sure to discover new ways that it can boost your mental and physical health.
Your health should be a priority. Add gentle movements to your exercise routine to enjoy the full range of advantages.
Looking for more great tips and tricks to improve your well-being? We’re all about getting you the latest and greatest info on how to take care of your mind and body.