7 Benefits of Stretching

benefits of stretching

7 Benefits of Stretching

Regular stretching, in addition to building muscle and becoming aerobically fit, is an important piece of the exercise and well-being puzzle. 

Flexibility is a measure of your range of motion. Some people are naturally more flexible than others, but most people need to work on their flexibility, especially after working out. Flexibility is improved through stretching.

Stretching is often overlooked, but there are several reasons why stretching is so important for overall health.

1. Stretching Improves Balance

Using the same muscles repeatedly makes them tighten up. This applies to regular activities such as carrying a handbag or backpack every day. If you tend to carry your bag on one side of your body, then that side will tighten up more. A quick stretch allows your body to loosen up and balance itself again.

2. Stretching Is Good for Your Posture

Your muscles have a tendency to contract in on themselves. They do this to conserve energy, and your posture suffers as a result. Your body literally starts to hunch over.

Stretching counters this problem by resetting your muscles to their natural position. It also helps to reduce the number of aches and pains in your muscles by increasing blood flow to the area. The result is a clearer mind, greater confidence, and the desire to stand up straight.

3. Stretching Tightens Your Glutes

Many people spend their days sitting down. This lifestyle is tough on your glutes because nerves in your muscles shut down and the muscles atrophy over time. The loss of muscle mass in major muscles such as your glutes puts more strain on other areas such as your knees.

Stretching regularly reminds your glutes to wake back up. Getting up from your chair for a quick flex of your hips and even stretching your legs out under your desk will keep the muscles from atrophying. This simple exercise can save you from a lot of pain in the future.

4. Stretching Is Good for Your Spine

It’s extremely important to stretch your spine. Simple exercises that rotate your spine are critical if you engage in jobs that include sitting or staying in one position for many hours at a time.

Tightening of the spine creates problems throughout the body. The shoulders tighten up, the neck becomes stiff, and the chest weakens. You can prevent this from happening by taking a few minutes out of each day to stretch your spine up and around.

5. Stretching Improves Your Mood

Stress causes your muscles to tighten up. This makes you feel uneasy and tense in ways that affect your emotional outlook on life. Stretching allows blood to reach those muscles and creates a sense of calm.

Stretching first thing in the morning can help you jumpstart your mind. The increased blood flow stimulates the release of endorphins into your system to promote good feelings. Stretching right before bed makes you more comfortable and gives you a more relaxing sleep.

6. Stretching Helps Increase Your Range of Motion

Stretching after a workout will help you keep your range of motion while gaining mass. Your muscles tend to feel great right after a workout, but the great feeling does not last for long because lactic acid and blood start to leave your muscles. Failing to stretch them out before this happens leaves them in a slightly contracted state. This causes your range of motion to decrease, ever so slightly, after each workout.

7. Stretching Relieves Stress

Stress causes muscles to tighten up. Tense muscles can lead to tension headaches. Focusing your stretching on the neck, shoulders, and back can help relieve that tension and help alleviate tension headaches when combined with eating a nutrient-rich diet, drinking plenty of water, and getting lots of rest.

Whether it’s increased flexibility, a decrease in tension or stress, improved posture, or an overall boost in your mood, stretching is a simple and easy addition to your daily routine that will reward you in a number of ways.

Dr. Sue Reddy understands what is required to live a healthy, active life and can assist you in achieving optimal nutritional health. Give Dr. Reddy a call today. Her staff would be more than happy to set up an appointment and answer any questions you may have.