If your daily stretching is limited to arching your back when you yawn, you need to read this.
Stretching shouldn’t be considered only as a warm-up activity before you run or go to the gym. It can easily become a part of your daily routine.
I know you may be saying ‘…but I don’t have any time.‘ Stretching doesn’t need to be a ritualistic process.
It doesn’t need to involve every single muscle group each time.
You can take 10 minutes out of your day to perform a series of stretches which can improve your flexibility and mobility.
Benefits of stretching daily include:
Without active lengthening, muscles tend to shorten and become tight. When these shortened, tightened muscles are called on to function, even in normal activities you may find that they cannot extend all the way. This puts you at risk for damaging your muscles or even joints.
Improving Posture and Balance
Stretching means that muscle groups are being strengthened and lengthened keeping muscles toned. Therefore you are more upright and aligned. Most slouching can be helped by regular stretching.
Relaxing the Mind
Stretching is an act of mindfulness. During stretching you usually are concentrating on your posture and form. For a while you are focusing on an activity that can help to distract you from more unpleasant things. By increasing your blood flow and recharging, you can lift your mood.
When I used to run track a long time ago, we did a light 400m-run first before we started stretching. I always wondered why we just didn’t start stretching. Research has shown that stretching cold muscles might not be beneficial. Warmer muscles allow stretching to be more effective.
Since we want to remain as limber as we can for the longest amount of time, mobility is key. That means the lower extremities -hip flexors, hamstrings, quadriceps and calves. However because I sit a lot for my job and do fine movements with my hands, I’ve found my torso, neck, shoulders and back, are the areas I have to concentrate on.
Before you begin any new stretching routine you should always consult with a medical professional. I certainly believe in ‘passing the mic’.
Physiotherapists are the medical professionals who are best trained to indicate your current muscle condition and the best stretches to help you achieve your goals. Don’t just depend on the internet to help you.
Do you do daily stretches? Does stretching help you?