Holy hamstrings! I am tighter than tight these days, especially in my lower body and shoulders. I know I need to incorporate stretching daily as much as I do strength training.
Stretching for 5-10 minutes a day can give you some amazing benefits that will improve workouts and overall health.
Do you stretch daily?
One of the easy things about stretching is that it doesn’t really require equipment. You can use a yoga mat or sit on your floor. I have found that when I am taking Bikram Yoga or Pilates, I am at my best. But because I am not doing either, my body is upset.
I’m not necessarily talking about mindless stretching. Stretching can involve the entire body. If done right, stretching daily can be integrated with the training you are doing now.
6 reasons to stretch daily and improve flexibility
Stretching is the most effective way to improve flexibility. As the body ages, muscles shorten and tighten, which decreases range of motion. Flexibility also helps with fluid motion in athletic performance.
Stretching increases strength by improving circulation and blood flow to the muscles. This not only provides greater nutrients to every muscle of the body but helps muscles recover faster in between workouts. The increased blood flow helps prevent soreness and muscles fatigue during recovery periods and allows for more frequent high-intensity workouts.
Good for circulation
Greater blood circulation helps promote cell growth and organ function. Lengthening and loosening the muscles helps dramatically with circulation. Not only will this help reduce post-workout soreness and shorten recovery time, but it will improve overall health.
Increases range of motion
An increased range of motion in the joints has many benefits and stretching is the best way to achieve this. It improves balance which decreases risk of injury and improves athletic performance. It also allows for more complete workouts, whether it be swimming, jogging or lifting, an increased range of motion will allow for better form and complete muscle recruitment.
Eliminates Lactic Acid
Muscle fatigue and soreness occurs due to the lactic acid produced by the body when you start exercising. In fact, the lactic acid starts to build up from the moment you begin the workout. Stretching helps to get rid of it and relaxes the muscles.
Stretching reduces stress through loosening the muscles and relieving built up tension. It also releases endorphins in the brain that can cause a feeling of well-being and calmness. This is especially true for the muscles around your neck and shoulders – stretch these out in the evening for a good nights sleep.
You have all seen people with tight hunched up postures. This comes from a lack of stretching and normally overdoing it with weight training or sitting at desks hunched over all day. Be sure to give yourself a good stretch, breathing into the muscle you’re stretching to further increase the stretch.
How often are you stretching?