The Benefits of Stretching

Without regular stretching, your muscles will tighten and the range of motion in your joints will decrease as you age. This can put a damper on active lifestyles and even hinder day-to-day activities. Tasks that used to be simple, such as zipping up a dress or reaching for a can off of the top shelf, can become extremely difficult. A regular stretching program can help you to maintain your range of motion and make daily living activities easier. Stretching does not demand a huge time commitment, but it can give you huge results! Here are some of the benefits you can expect from a regular stretching program:
  • Reduced muscle tension
  • Increased range of movement in the joints
  • Enhanced muscular coordination
  • Increased circulation to various parts of the body
  • Increased energy levels (resulting from increased circulation)
  • Delayed onset of muscle fatigue
  • Enhanced performance in daily life, sports, or other physical activity
  • Improved posture
  • Mental relaxation
  • Added variety, enjoyment, and satisfaction to your exercise program.
Get the Most Out of Your Stretching Routine Stretching can be highly beneficial if done properly. If done improperly, it can cause serious damage. Here are some helpful tips to ensure you are stretching safely and preventing injury:
  • Always warm up before stretching. Stretching a cold muscle increases the risk of pulls or tears. Think of your muscles like you would a rubber band. It’s easy to stretch a warm rubber band, but if you try to stretch a cold one, you risk cracking or breaking it. Don’t treat your muscles like a cold rubber band! Your best bet is to stretch after warming up and at the end of your workout.
  • Do not lock your joints when you stretch. Keep joints like the elbows and knees slightly bent to avoid unnecessary stress on the joints.
  • Never hold your breath while stretching. Try to breathe normally, in through the nose and out through the mouth. This will make your stretching a more relaxing experience.
  • Take your time. The long-sustained, mild stretch reduces unwanted muscle tension and tightness.
  • Do not compare yourself with others. Everyone has different degrees of flexibility.
  • Never stretch to the point of pain. If it hurts, stop.
  • Talk to your doctor about any current or former injuries or problems that might affect your ability to stretch safely and effectively.
  • Hold each stretch for at least eight seconds as only after that, do your muscles relax. Before that they resist the stretch. Ideally, hold for 20 – 60 seconds.
Our company was conducting free body mass index checkups. When a stout colleague climbed onto the machine, it spit out a slip of paper telling him what his weight-to-height ratio was and what it ought to be. “What does it say?” I asked. He replied, “I need to increase my height by six inches.” Jon Paul Williamson – Director of the Hemsworth Wellness Center
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