Many people incorporate stretching into their daily routine to reduce pain, allowing them to engage in daily activities including work. A consistent stretching program can increase your range of motion, relieve stiffness, therefore, improving how you feel. Best of all consistent stretching can provide effective, lasting pain relief for free!
However, even if stretching is free, it’s extremely difficult to set aside time for our bodies given our hectic lives. But setting aside time for our bodies must become a priority. Not only will exercise help you keep off the pounds and sleep better, but it will boost your mood and make you feel better about yourself. Ironically setting aside this time will improve your performance in your work.
Why Stretching is so beneficial
Incorporating stretching into your physical activities and exercise routine is crucial for its many proven benefits:
Lowers risk of injury
Many people use stretching to warm up before a workout and after to cool down because it promotes circulation and relaxes stiff muscles.
Improves joint function
If you suffer from chronic pain, chances are your joints aren’t getting the exercise they need to perform optimally. Stretching loosens stiff muscles and other joint tissue, allowing greater freedom of movement.
Aligns your body for better posture
Stretching can help bring alignment to the joints of your shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles. When our bodies are properly aligned, inflammation of the joints is reduced and mobility is increased. Better posture can lessen pain. So stretching lower back muscles, shoulders and chest can help keep the back in better alignment thus improving posture.
Improves circulation and blood flow
Stretching improves the circulation of blood to the muscles and joints. Increased blood circulation brings nutrients to cells and removes waste byproducts. Increased blood flow also opens up connective tissues allowing blood flow to the knotted tissue more easily, which can help pain alleviation.
A limber physique allows you to move your body as it was intended. Providing improved dexterity and balance.
Relaxes and relieves stress
As you may be aware, pain is aggravated by stress in the body, and stress in the body can be triggered by emotional stress. Stretching helps the mind and body to relax. This promotes more healing which in turn triggers more relaxation.
Tips for starting a stretching routine:
- Do at least once a day
- Wear loose comfortable clothes
- Stretching should be pain-free; do not force the body into difficult positions
- Move into the stretch slowly and avoid bouncing, which may tear muscles
- Hold stretches 30-45 seconds to allow muscles and joints to loosen
- Repeat the stretch, generally 5-10 times
- Stretch your whole body even if you only have pain in one area
- Breathe deeply and relax your body
If you are looking for good ways to include stretching in your workouts, low-impact exercises can provide a full-body workout or merely focus on some key areas as needed. You may want to consider yoga as it emphasizes poses that improve flexibility and strength.