7 Benefits of Stretching: Tips & Advice
Are you feeling a little stiff lately? If so, the benefits of stretching will change your life!
I try to stretch every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. As your body ages, you need to keep your joints and muscles active to avoid atrophy and injuries that naturally come with living your best life.
In the short term, stretching will increase flexibility and mobility as well as help with blood circulation and maintaining a healthy diet. If you stretch for years or throughout the rest of your life, you will maintain your ability to participate in life’s fun activities like summer sports with your friends and family as well as reduce your risk of negative mindsets and sour moods.
7 Essential Benefits of Stretching for the Body & the Mind
- Improves Flexibility - Being on-the-go every day can cause you to have stiff muscles and joints. Flexibility training enhances your ability to perform routine tasks, can save you from pulling a muscle, and can offset the stiffness that comes naturally with aging.
- Decreases Stress - We all have bad days. You can reduce daily stress by stretching in the morning and throughout the day to improve your mood and realign your focus.
- Corrects Posture - Do you slump in your office chair or wear heels to work? Doing proper stretching connects us with our bodies so we are more aware of how our spine is aligned throughout the day. With practice, you will know how to sit, stand, and position your body better no matter your occupation.
- Prevents Injuries - Proper stretching before physical activities like playing tennis or cooling down from a jog will decrease the chances of pulling a muscle or injuring yourself.
- Calms Mindset - Breathe in. Breathe out. You don’t have to do yoga to connect with your breath. So when you are stretching, try to create a flow of stretches and pay attention to your breathing. It calms the mind and helps to release endorphins into the brain.
- Enhances Range of Motion - Discovering your full range of motion with your joints and muscles increases flexibility as well as improves movement ability.
- Boosts Nutrients - Yes. Stretching increases blood flow in the body. By allowing better circulation of blood in your body, you are encouraging nutrients to pass more easily throughout your circulatory system.
When to Stretch
The benefits of stretching daily are insurmountable. Here are some more tips for when to stretch:
- In the Morning - I love doing yoga and/or stretching in the morning. The ability to connect your mind, body, and spirit provides so much benefit, and is the best way to start the day. If you are not into yoga, it is still a good idea to begin an easy 5-10 minute routine in the mornings to wake your body and mind up - you will be amazed at how much more you are capable of.
- Before Bed - After a long stressful day, try doing some light stretches for your legs, wrists (especially if you work at a desk all day), and back. You will not only feel better, but you will also sleep more soundly.
- During Work Breaks - Do you have a 30-minute lunch break? Before you eat, try some office yoga. You can also use your chair or desk as a prop to stretch more deeply.
- Any Time - There really is no set time to stretch. I like to stretch throughout my day because it helps to break it up. I feel much more grounded and centered when I practice stretching regularly.
Ways to Stretch
Stretching may be awkward at first depending on your level of fitness and health. Be patient with yourself and listen to your body. Also, be sure your technique is accurate to avoid injuries.
There are many ways to stretch, but keep these points in mind:
- Hold Stretches Properly - While it may seem logical to do so, try your best not to bounce in and out of a stretch. Doing so may cause tearing in the muscles which can lead to scar tissue and less mobility. Try holding stretches up to one minute while you tune into your body’s limits.
- Cold Muscles - Be sure to recognize when not to stretch. If you go from the bed directly to stretching, there is a possibility of injury. Try doing a quick walk or a light jog before stretching to warm up the muscles.
Starting a Routine
Always talk to your physician or fitness coach if you need some guidance on where to start with stretching. Beginning a new fitness routine requires patience and awareness of your limits.
Figure out the proper technique of each move before you stretch.
It’s best to work your way into longer stretching sessions. Start your routine out with up to 10 minutes of stretching per day. You can do this any time that works with your schedule or before/after physical activity or workout.
Send me a message and let me know how you stretch and how your life has changed since you started stretching!
XO - Serena