We all know the feeling. The alarm goes off on another early morning and you have to drag yourself out of sleep. Your arms go above your head, your toes reach down towards the end of the bed while your legs elongate in a bid to wake your body up and shake off sleep. Stretching is a natural thing that we all do subconsciously, whether it’s first thing in the morning, at your desk at work, or more consciously before and after a workout.
It’s our bodies’ way of waking up, correcting its position and keeping us ready for whatever the day throws at us. For fitness fanatics, it should be an integral part of a workout routine but we’d be lying if we said we never neglected this part of our fitness regime. We all know stretching is important to protect our body from injury and help it recover, but how does this work exactly? And what other benefits do we miss out on if we forget to stretch it out? Here’s a list of 11 awesome benefits we receive from stretching that can help to answer your questions.
11 Awesome Benefits of Stretching
We all have a sport or particular workout that we love. Whether it’s basketball, weightlifting or crossfit, we tend to practice performing a certain set of motions over and over again. While this helps us to perfect our stance, it might not go a long way in improving our flexibility within a particular motion. If you can’t touch your toes, it might be time to get stretching and improve your flexibility. Taking your time to stretch a particular body part will increase the range of motion in the joint and ultimately increase your performance when performing that particular move. If flexibility is something you need to work on, grab a yoga mat and get bendy.
- Stand Tall
After a long day slumped at a desk staring at a computer, it’s no surprise that we often find ourselves swinging our arms above our heads, swivelling round on our chairs, backs arched in a monkey-like posture. Stretching is the body’s natural way of correcting its posture and doing this consciously as well as subconsciously can have impressive effects on how you hold yourself. Stretching can lengthen muscles which have been shortened by prolonged periods of inactivity and can reduce pain that we feel from being incorrectly aligned. This is especially important for people who suffer from back pain and often find themselves slumped as a result.
- Get the Blood Going
Another reason we often find ourselves stretching after long periods of inactivity is a bid to improve circulation. Stretching is a great way to get your blood pumping properly which in turn improves muscle effectiveness, reduces post workout soreness and will also lower your overall heart rate, as your heart won’t have to work as hard to supply your muscles with the oxygen they need.
The bane of any aspiring athlete’s life is an unexpected injury. They can have disastrous effects on progress, setting you back on achieving your fitness goals and putting you out of action when you’d rather be giving it your all. There’s a reason your old physical education teacher used to make you incorporate stretches into your warm up and cool down. By easing your muscles into activity, stretching can relax and lengthen muscles, and the increased blood supply previously mentioned will make sure they receive the nutrients they need to perform in optimal condition, with a decreased risk of injury.
Another nifty benefit we gain from making sure our muscles are stretched and the blood is flowing is a stronger stamina. By making sure our muscles are ready for exercise and fully stocked up on oxygen before we pound the pavements, we will help to stave off fatigue for longer and in turn, increase our stamina.
- Bright Eyed and Bushy Tailed
If you’re feeling lethargic or just down right sleepy, skip the double shot of espresso and get moving. Spending a few minute at your desk stretching your body can refocus your mind and reinvigorate your body, keeping you going through the rest of your day.
- Balance & Body Awareness
Stretching muscles can help us to make that all important mind to muscle connection and increase our overall awareness of our body. What’s a little tight today? What’s a little sore from yesterday’s workout? As well as keeping us updated on how our body is feeling, it can also improve body awareness factors such as balance. A study of college students and surfers using a stabilometer showed that balance was improved and prolonged significantly after certain test subjects had spent 30 minutes stretching prior to attempting to keep their balance.
- Getting Jiggy
Perhaps a slightly unexpected, but definitely motivating, reason to stretch out is the chance to improve your sex life. Stretching out your muscles post-workout or attending a few yoga sessions will increase flexibility and range of motion, making it all the more easier for you to get adventurous.
- A Weight Off Your Shoulders
Stretching can go a long way in relieving stress that can take a massive toll on your body. Even if our stress is mental, we tend to hold it in our muscles which contract and knot as tension builds. Gentle stretches can coerce your rigid muscles into letting go of your worries and relieving the tension you’re piling onto yourself.
- A Bag of Nerves
A strong argument for why stretching can improve flexibility is that it actually helps our nervous systems to build a tolerance to a certain range of motion until we don’t feel pain or resistance while performing that motion. There is also some evidence to suggest that stretching in the right way can relieve nerve pain such as sciatica.
- A Better Outlook
It’s no surprise that yogis seem go through life with a balanced, happy perspective. Stretching your body stretches your mind and performing stretching poses can act as a form of self-awareness and meditation that can increase your feelings of contentment and balance in life.
Though the long-term benefits of stretching still need more evidence to make them conclusive, it would seem silly to neglect this simple act. With a vast amount of us leading static, cramped lifestyles, spending a few minutes here or there giving your body a chance to bend itself back in to shape doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. Who knows, it could have some surprising results in every aspect of your life.
This is republished article. Originally this article was published by http://healthyhampster.com