When you think of being flexible, what do you think of? The sit-and-reach test from elementary school gym class? Or being able to bend over and touch your toes? Most people know that flexibility is important, yet those same people most likely don’t do enough stretching. Stretching is so important for our overall wellbeing that it is actually something that we should be doing every single day. If you need some convincing for setting aside a few minutes each day to stretch, here are 7 reasons you should stretch everyday:
1. Less Stiffness
Stretching helps to reduce muscle stiffness that accumulates from days of sitting. It also helps to improve range of motion of joints that may be compromised due to injuries or overuse.
2. Less Pain
When muscles are less stiff and more flexible you tend to have less aches and pains. Sometimes a tight muscle might even be the culprit to some chronic pain you have been experiencing. Are you one of the millions of Americans who suffer from lower back pain? Tight hamstrings, hip flexors and muscles attached to the pelvis might be to blame. Try stretching them out and see if some of your back pain alleviates.
3. Better Posture
If you’re starting to notice a slouch in your posture, it’s not too late to correct it! Stretching helps to strengthen your muscles which encourages proper alignment. Over time this can help make your posture more upright.
4. Reduce Post-Exercise Soreness
If you’re used to being really sore after a workout, then it might be time to add in some post-workout stretching. Stretching helps to lengthen and loosen the muscles which can prevent them from tightening up and becoming sore. Stretching all helps to promote blood flow to the recovering muscles, which will also aid in recovery.
5. Reduces Stress
Have you ever been told that you carry stress in your shoulders? Well its’ true. When we chronically feel stressed our muscles tighten as a result. Therefore, by stretching them out you can literally release the tension from your body which can help you feel less stressed.
6. Increases Energy
Stretching helps to promote blood flow to the body which sends more oxygen to not only the muscles but also the brain. Some quick stretching can help you feel more refreshed and alert.
7. Better Quality of Life
If all of the other reasons above weren’t enough to convince you, then let this one sink in. Daily stretching and increased flexibility can give you a better quality of life as you age. People who don’t stretch tend to have more difficulty with daily tasks as they get older. For example, it could become challenging to bend over and tie your shoes, or maybe your shoulders are so tight that you can’t reach overhead anymore to get something off of the top shelf in your kitchen cabinet. Don’t let muscle stiffness slow you down! By stretching every day you can help ensure that all of your activities of daily living remain doable.
While stretching daily might sound overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be! You don’t need to stretch every single muscle in your body. Start out by focusing on the ones that you know are tight.
If you need some help getting started, reach out to a fitness professional in your area. Here at Cornerstone we have highly trained Wellness Coaches and Personal Trainers on staff who have the expertise to develop you stretching routine that works for you.
~Morgan Fink, Wellness Coach