Most people tend to think that stretching is for gymnasts and athletes, but it’s for everyone. Regular stretching comes with many benefits, such as increased flexibility. It also helps to reduce stress, keep your body fit, enhance your posture, relieve body aches, and much more. There are two types of stretching: static and dynamic. Static stretching is when you hold a particular stretch for a certain amount of time and then repeat it.
On the other hand, dynamic stretching refers to repeatedly moving a joint through a complete range without stopping. You can incorporate both types into your daily routine; however, your goals and exercise type will determine when to do either. Here are the top five health benefits of stretching.
1. Improves Posture and Range of Motion
As individuals age, joints tend to lose their range of motion. A good range of motion enables you to bend, walk, and twist, as well as engage in other physical activities. Tight muscles result in poor posture, particularly in the chest, upper and lower back, and hips. Most individuals working or operating from an office tend to spend the better part of their day sitting at a desk or looking at their tablet and phone.
Typically, the position that most people sit in as they engage in these activities is a poor posture that stiffens the muscles. You can improve your posture and range of motion by stretching the upper trapezius, pectoralis, and hamstring muscles.
2. Increases Flexibility and Prevents Lower and Upper Back Pain
If your muscles are tight, you will experience a decrease in your range of motion. This causes the back muscles to start straining since your body is not flexible enough to carry out daily tasks. If you start to stretch regularly, you will increase flexibility and, at the same time, heal your back injury.
Stretching also helps to reduce the rate at which your mobility reduces due to age. Improved flexibility helps you to perform daily activities without struggling. If your back is not yet injured, stretching will help to minimize the possibility of muscle strain and back pain even in the future.
3. Helps Calm the Mind and Relieves Stress
Your muscles tend to get tense up if you are stressed. This is because the muscles respond to emotional and physical stress by tightening up. It is essential to note the parts of your body which might hold the stress, including shoulders, neck, and upper back, so you can focus on them during stretching. If you engage in a regular stretching program, you will increase flexibility and, on top of that, enjoy a calm mind. During the stretches, you might focus on meditation and mindfulness exercises that offer you a mental break.
4. Stretching Helps to Prevent Injury and Muscle Soreness
You may be wondering if stretching should hurt? The truth is stretching should be painless and if you experience some pain, visit your doctor. However, if you stretch your muscles too far, they might become torn or strained. Regular stretches promote the circulation of blood in the parts getting stretched. If you have an injury and you stretch, blood will flow to that part and promote healing.
If you stretch before engaging in physical exercises, you will help prevent injury by warming the muscles, tightening them, and allowing blood circulation. If you are experiencing muscle soreness due to an activity you’re engaged in, stretching will reduce the discomfort. Muscles around an injury tend to tighten, and therefore you should stretch them to alleviate the soreness and the pain.
5.Helps to Improve Performance of Physical Activities and Reduce Tension Headaches
Dynamic stretches before a physical activity tend to help prepare the muscles for the task. This helps you to perform better in exercise or an athletic event. Also, if you constantly experience tension headaches, you will not perform well in your activities. Stretching is a great remedy for headaches. Do not forget to incorporate a healthy diet, plenty of sleep, and adequate hydration. In combination with regular stretching, a healthy lifestyle will promote stronger muscles, less fatigue, and help relieve tension.
A regular stretching routine tends to benefit both seasoned athletes and beginners. If you incorporate at least five minutes of both static and dynamic stretches daily, you will increase your range of motion, ease your mind, and improve your posture and circulation of blood in your body.