We should be stretching every day!
Stretching on a regular basis is really important for us for may reasons. Not only is it vital to stretch after a workout but it should also be incorporated in our day to day lives, aim for 5-10 minutes of your day set aside to stretch. Stretching daily has a vast amount of benefits including improving flexibility and fitness, reducing stress, and improving posture. Below outlines the key benefits of regular stretching daily.
Stretching regularly will gradually improve your flexibility which not only helps to make day to day tasks easier, it can also lead to keeping a good level of mobility within muscles and joints that slowly decreases with age.
- Improves fitness performance
Before a workout, doing dynamic (moving) stretches has been proved to aid in preparing the muscles for exercising and therefore leading to a higher performance.
- Range of Motion
By stretching on a regular basis, the increased flexibility will cause an increased range of motion. This leads to a joint being able to move through its entire range with ease.
Many of us struggle with postural issues, especially as more and more of us lean over to type on our keyboards or look down at our phones causing muscle imbalances. By mixing strengthening and stretching of muscle groups, we can achieve a proper alignment and reduce musculoskeletal pains which then improves posture.
- Decreases back pain
Back pain (muscular) is usually triggered by tight muscles and a decreases range of motion in the back. Stretching helps with current back injuries by stretching out the muscles. Stretching regularly also helps to avoid future back pain by strengthening the back muscles and lowering the risk of future pain.
- Blood flow
Regular stretching can improve circulation which increases the blood flow to the muscles. This in turn decreases recovery time and muscle soreness or DOMS.
- Stress relief
When we are stressed, our muscles usually tense up without us realising in a natural response to emotional and physical stress. To help relieve some of that stress, stretching out the tight muscles i.e. neck, shoulders, back will help to release the stress that is carried in the body and mind. Focusing on deep, steady breathing whilst stretching can aid in calming the mind and act as a meditation.
By stretching daily in the correct and steady way, tension headaches and stress headaches can be reduced, if performed regularly alongside plenty of sleep, staying hydrated and maintaining a good diet.
Static or dynamic?
–Static stretching is holding a stretch in a single position for between 10 and 30 seconds, practice this stretching technique after exercising.
–Dynamic stretching is actively moving the muscles to stretch, these are typically best before exercise to aid in preparing muscles for work.
Below is a lower body stretch sequence to help give you an idea of what you can do. You can pause the video at any point to hold the stretches for longer. The video is sped up so in total it was around 10 minutes worth of stretching. Let us know how you get on: