When exercising, and working out, you might be tempted to forget a very important step (myself included) and that’s stretching. What’s great about stretching is that it’s not only beneficial to our limbs and joints, but it also has a huge impact on our mental well-being. If you’re still debating whether it’s worth the time and effort, then we definitely need to get into this topic -read on for our Top 5 Benefits of Stretching!
So, according to long-term and ongoing studies the main benefits of stretching are:
1. Greater flexibility and range of motion
With age, people tend to lose muscle mass slowly, but flexibility decreases drastically as muscles and joints get tighter. With age, muscles also tend to contract which leads to diminished ability to straighten your limbs. Regular stretching will lead to better performance in exercise and improve your range of motion tremendously. When stretching properly and regularly, you will start noticing the benefits within just days of starting!
2. Reduced stress
Stretching frees millions of blood cells back into your circulation, which helps the body and mind get more oxygen. Increased circulation will help nutrients get to your muscles and eases the tension build up in your body. This leads to overall improvement in your mental state and has been shown to help one’s overall well-being.
3. Decreased risk of injury
With regular stretching your muscles are more pliable, flexible and your joints have a greater range of motion. This will help prevent possible injuries when for example falling down, or taking the odd tumble off your bicycle in your normal every daily life or perhaps when taking a hit during exercise or sports.
4. Better posture
Regular stretching leads to healthier back muscles, maintaining the natural ‘S’ shape of your spinal curvature and a good, confident posture. This is key to healthy movement both during athletic or sporting activity or in your usual everyday job. Good posture both increases performance and prevents risk of lower back pain dramatically.
5. Overall positive health effects
Studies have shown that regular stretching can lower your cholesterol levels and improve your breathing. When undergoing strenuous periods of training, or heavy lifting workouts utilizing your large muscle groups (legs, back and chest), your more efficient breathing will allow you to work out harder and longer. Regular stretching will also prevent headaches and reduce chronic pain.
If you have been sitting in your chair reading this post, I challenge you to a quick stretching workout, a 5-10 minute tai chi or yoga workout is perfect for most and you will notice immediate benefits. If you feel like you don’t know where to start or seem to lack motivation, do revisit the video above which will help you get on your way to a more vitalised, healthier you in next to no time!