7 Amazing benefits of stretching regularly
When we talk about stretching, we associate it with the short warm-up that many of us do before hitting the gym. It isn't assigned nearly enough importance compared to actual exercise. But stretching is just as crucial for physical fitness as sweat-inducing workouts. Even 10 minutes of stretching every day can make a world of difference.
It doesn't matter when you do it – whether first thing in the morning, or while bingeing on Netflix, or even during office hours. Stretching impacts not only sore muscles but also your overall health. It improves blood circulation, lowers high blood pressure, and helps with insomnia, infertility, and fatigue. Read on to discover 7 excellent ways in which stretching regularly can help you get fitter.
1. Stress relief
If you're not someone who works out very often, stretching can still help you ease any stress-related aches. Combining stretching exercises with deep breathing relieves tension in the muscles and relaxes you. Stress impacts your blood flow negatively, which results in knots and muscle tension. Both physical and emotional stress causes your muscles to tighten in response.
Stretching regularly increases the blood flow, easing any tension in your muscles. Improved blood circulation also affects your brain and improves your mood. Typical areas that may suffer from stress-related pain are the neck, upper back, and shoulders. Stretching these gently will leave you feeling more relaxed.
2. Less anxiety
Incorporating a variety of stretching exercises into your regular fitness routine works wonders for your physical as well as your mental health. Stretching works as a mental break for your brain, which can help reduce anxiety by calming your mind. Make your stretches more effective by doing them along with meditation and mindfulness.
Stretching involves breathing, and practising deep breathing with your stretches can help take your mind off the constant stream of thoughts racing through your head. Deep inhales and exhales while stretching will calm your mind and protect you from dark thoughts that increase anxiety.
3. Relief from sore muscles
Stretching is the best solution for those suffering from sore muscles. The morning after a solid workout at the gym can introduce you to a world of pain. Prevent muscle soreness by performing stretches at the end of every workout. It increases blood flow and nutrient supply to tired muscles and naturally reduces soreness. The improved blood circulation also helps to reduce the time you need to recover after a strenuous workout or any physical labour.
Regular stretching also improves the range of motion of your joints, which further eases the tension from your muscles.
4. Improved posture
Sitting at a desk for long hours is a prerequisite for office jobs. The downside is the way our posture suffers as a result. Bent over a computer, frantically trying to meet deadlines causes many of us to slouch habitually.
Tense and tight muscles are also weak muscles that compromise our posture. Stretching helps keep your muscles loose, and your spine correctly aligned. Stretching the muscles of your shoulders, chest, and lower back regularly strengthens them and keeps your back in proper alignment. Your posture improves significantly as you stop feeling the need to slouch.
5. Less risk of injury
Stretching your muscles is a vital part of warming up before exercise as it prompts your brain to switch into workout mode. Once you're prepped up for an hour of exercising, you will be less likely to injure yourself by making mistakes. Dynamic stretching before a workout helps prevent the kind of sudden injuries that can happen due to cold, tight muscles. You also find yourself more focused on your exercise, which can help you avoid painful missteps.
Before your workout, spend some time on hip-opening yoga poses to prevent muscle stiffness and get relief from back pain.
6. Better flexibility
Many people consider flexibility a pointless skill, but there is no denying that the more flexible you are, the more intense your workouts can get. Stretching increases the flexibility of your muscles and helps you exercise better. For example, stretching your hip flexors beforehand will help you go deeper when you squat.
Limited mobility in our day-to-day lives tightens our muscles and makes us more prone to sudden injuries. Even a few minutes of stretching regularly can make you more flexible. You can perform everyday tasks more efficiently and delay the muscle stiffness that comes with ageing.
7. Relief from back pain
If you need more convincing, how about the fact that stretching can give you relief from chronic lower back pain? That's right! Research has proved that 12 weeks of intense stretching lowers the need for pain medication while significantly improving back pain.
Tight hamstrings may also be responsible for back pain as they increase the stress on the muscles around your spine. They also reduce the range of motion of your muscles, making you more vulnerable to muscle strain and injury. Stretching makes your back muscles stronger, heals existing back injuries, and prevents future risk of back pain.
The long-term benefits are worth it
These are just some of the amazing benefits that you get when you take time out to stretch your body every week. It may sound like too much work or a waste of time, but trust me, the long-term benefits are worth it. Make stretching an active part of your fitness routine and gift yourself a healthy happily ever after!
Do you stretch regularly? What are your favourite stretching exercises? Let us know in the comment section below!