You’ve most likely heard that you should stretch before you exercise. But why? While most of us understand that we should stretch, we don’t always understand the reasoning behind it, which makes it harder to make time for stretching.
Stretching helps loosen your muscles, which helps to prevent injury. But did you know that it can also help slow the degeneration of joints and helps you reduce and manage stress? Here are some of the lesser known reasons why you should make stretching a part of your daily routine.
1. Get a better workout
Stretching prepares the body to exercise by loosening the muscles. A flexible joint requires less energy to move which means stretching creates more energy-efficient movements in exercise. When less energy is put towards your joints during exercise, you have more energy to exercise longer.
2. Promotes blood circulation
Stretching increases the blood supply to your muscles and joints which means that the transportation of nutrients is increased and overall blood circulation is improved throughout the whole body. When you consider the benefits of good circulation due to stretching, you understand why you should stretch everyday.
3. Increases flexibility
In addition to being able to touch your toes, flexibility results in increased strength and speed, and it helps with overall performance when it comes to anything physical or athletic.
4. Relieves pain
Stretching helps relieve pain all over the body. Stretch your hip flexors to relieve pain and pressure on the spine; stretch your calves to relieve pain caused by shin splints; stretch your feet to relieve pain from plantar fasciitis. It can also relieve muscle pain, soreness, and tenderness that accompanies exercise. Stretching will help improve your overall well being.
5. Slows degeneration of joints
Stretching helps keeps your joints fluid and free and can help prevent joint diseases such as arthritis. With the increased blood supply that comes to the joints through stretching, the range of motion in the joints is increased, slowing down the degeneration of joints.
6. Improves posture
If you stretch the muscles in your shoulders, lower back, and chest, your back will better aligned and your posture will be improved!
7. Reduces and manages stress
Stretching reduces the tension in your muscles which results in less stress throughout your whole body. On days that you are feeling especially stressed, try stretching all the muscles in your body, starting with your face muscles, until you get down to the muscles in your feet to feel the pent up stress leave your body.
Stretching is an easy, efficient way to improve the overall well being of your body. Stretching everyday is the best way to get all of the benefits listed above. If you need to, start small by adding 5 minutes of easy stretching to your daily routine and work up to more vigorous stretches as your body becomes more adapt to the routine.