Stretching has always been an important part of physical fitness. Although it is not as intense as the actual workout, it offers a lot of benefits to your body that you never knew about. Here are some of the advantages of stretching and how you can incorporate them into your lifestyle.
Benefits of Stretching
1. Improved Mobility
Did you know that you can increase flexibility when you stretch often? Stretching is a way to increase flexibility making it easier for you to move through your daily activities with ease.
Regular stretching improves the movement that your muscles can execute. This is why people who want to split often resort to stretching their legs a certain way until their muscles can go further.
If you are having a hard time doing these types of movements, then regular stretching can help you. It’s similar to pushing your muscles to the limit and letting them get used to certain types of movement. This way, the familiarity of it improves mobility and flexibility.
2. Reduces Stress and Tension
It’s not just your head that feels tense and stressed, your muscles feel them, too. Regular stretching helps relieve your muscles from these tensions so that they can function better. The stretches loosen your tight muscles in your back, neck, arms, and all the other areas in your body. Stretches even make you feel less “heavy”.
3. Increased Blood Flow
Aside from reducing stress, stretches help improve the blood flow to your muscles. It improves circulation throughout your body which also improves the oxygen supply everywhere.
This is why stretching before a workout lets you have a shorter recovery time than when you don’t stretch at all. Stretches before and after a workout also reduce muscle soreness.
4. Better Posture
A lot of people neglect their posture and then suddenly feel an ache in their lower back, arms, or neck. With regular stretching, you can improve your posture by letting your body go back to the right position after hours of sitting or standing.
A simple stretch of your hands above your head can help you straighten your back after hours of being slouched on a chair.
Ways to Make Stretching a Part of Your Lifestyle
A lot of people forget or neglect stretches. However, if you want to get the benefits listed above, you have to try and make it a part of your life. Here are simple ways that you can do to make stretching a habit.
1. Set a Reminder
If remembering to stretch doesn’t come naturally, you can set up a reminder that will tell you when to stretch. You can manually set an alarm on your phone, or you can also use a phone app that will automatically remind you to stretch every few hours. In this way, you become more conscious of stretching.
2. Choose Your Favorite Stretch
When you like something, it’s easier to remember them. To get you into the habit of stretching, you can try out different stretches and see which are your favorites. Then, try to do your favorite stretches more often.
Even if they’re the same poses, they can help you get into the habit of stretching. This will also help you become more curious of other stretches that you might find interesting to try.
3. Use Idle Times for Stretching
There are times of the day when you’re idle or you’re waiting. Use these times to do a little stretch even if it’s just rotating your neck clockwise or counterclockwise.
You can do this while you’re waiting on the phone for someone to answer or when you’re waiting for your turn to get your order placed at the coffee shop. Doing these little stretches can encourage you to do more when you get home, too.
4. Appreciate the Relief You Feel After a Stretch
Remember that time when you stretched and your bones cracked and felt so relieved? Try to remember that feeling and whenever you do remember it, tell yourself to stretch. Realizing that stretching makes you feel better will most likely encourage you to stretch some more.
Stretching is important. While there are a lot of reasons you have not to stretch, you can slowly eliminate these reasons by starting small with 1-2 stretches a day.