Do you stretch? If not well, here are 4 BIG reasons why you should be stretching,..every…single…day.
Ever seen the great Bruce Lee throw a high kick?
Well if you haven’t, his foot gets level to his head.
Simultaneously, his leg is as straight as a flag pole.
How can someone achieve this other than through decades of dedicated training you ask?
In short, stretching.
Stretching daily is something everyone should incorporate into their daily routine. The health benefits are immense and plus, one day maybe you’ll be able to throw a kick like this guy. If you’re lucky.
Developing a habit of stretching daily can lead to a variety of health benefits.
These include preventing injuries, increasing circulation, improving posture, decreasing stress levels, and even improving sleep!
And the best part is, it only takes 10 minutes out of your day.
Stretching daily can be done at any time of the day, or before strenuous physical activity.
BUT, before stretching make sure you warm up.
Jog, run or walk. any type of aerobic exercise should do, as long as you get the heart pumping and the blood flowing.
Warming up helps increase blood flow to your muscles which allows more flexibility in your muscles.
Think about a frozen rubber band. If you stretch the frozen rubber band it will snap.
On the other hand, if you stretch a warm rubber band it will easily stretch to any desired length without snapping.
The rubber band is like your muscles. Get your muscles warm and ready to go prior to stretching. We don’t want any snapping…ouch
Stretching is a great activity to incorporate into your routine because it helps prevent injuries.
You don’t have to be an athlete to reap the benefits of stretching.
Stretching daily helps increase flexibility and range of motion in your muscles and joints. This means stretching helps your muscles and joints reach their full potential of movement or, range of motion (ROM).
(Why Bruce Lee is able to get his foot so high while his leg is so straight).
Improved muscle and joint function mean your body is quite literally able to go into new and uncomfortable places and not get hurt.
As well as increasing joint function, stretching has also been shown to help fight against the terrible joint disease known as arthritis.
Think of your muscles as little communities.
I know. I’m using a lot of muscle similies. Just bear with me
These communities need sustenance and a fruitful environment to generate resources. If these communities do not receive the proper ingredients needed to thrive they will not be able to reach their full potential.
In this case, the ingredients are wholesome nutrients and a steady routine of stretching.
The resources generated are the correct utility.
In other words, your muscles need the right nutrients and to be stretched often to get the best function out of them.
Getting the right function out of your muscles means they will be able to perform better, limit injuries, and help you with the normals comings and goings of daily life.
Muscles that are not being stretched frequently will not receive the proper blood flow needed to perform.
When you stretch you increase the circulation of blood throughout your body. This means more blood is being distributed to the muscles in your body.
Blood contains oxygen and nutrients.
And more oxygen and nutrients in your muscles means better function.
This increase of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles helps:
1) Your muscles achieve better performance in physical activities
2) Helps muscle cell growth and recovery time. This will allow you to perform better in the gym, track, or even your job! As well as allowing your muscles to recover quicker after strenuous physical activity, which means less time on the sideline and more time in the game.
Everybody would like to improve their posture.
Slouching is a sneaky little devil that creeps up on you out of nowhere.
One second you’re consciously standing up tall and straight, the next you’re crouched over.
You don’t know what hit you.
Stretching can help with this malignant occurrence.
Stretching daily helps keep your bones, muscles, and joints in correct alignment.
This means anatomically everything stays where it should be.
This includes your back. Stretching helps keep your vertebrae in correct alignment, taking the stress off your joints.
This stress is put there by unnaturally distributed weight due to slouching.
Having a better posture helps keep you standing tall and straight, and standing tall and straight gets you feeling more confident.
Stress relief / Help sleep
If you are like me, you sometimes suffer from insomnia.
Falling asleep can be hard.
Your mind races, but your body is tired.
You want to sleep but your mind won’t let you.
Sometimes reading a book is worth a shot. Sometimes that doesn’t work.
Stretching can help alleviate this problem.
I often get out of bed when my mind won’t stop racing, and I go stretch.
I go into my living room, and with the lights out I lie down on the ground and stretch.
Stretching relaxes the muscles.
Stretching relaxes the mind.
This is a good opportunity to practice breathing exercises as well. This combination of breathing and stretching brings a sense of calm to you, and in return allows you to get back into bed and enjoy a quick and easy fall into slumber.
Bang for your buck
What if I told you there was an activity that only required 10-15 minutes of your day that would have a great positive impact on your health?
You’d probably do it wouldn’t you?
Stretching is that activity and it only requires a small amount of time from your day.
The health benefits stretching offers is far more valuable than the amount of effort you need to put in.
Try to fit in a little stretching in the morning after you wake up, or in the evening before you sleep. Both would be ideal, but start off performing 1 group of stretches a day and see how you feel.
I promise you won’t regret it.