Stretching is often a bit of a foreign topic. Some people may associate it with yoga and think it’s way out of their league, and others just think it’s something they might do when they first wake up, accompanied by a huge yawn.
Stretching is one thing that many people neglect to do everyday and don’t place much importance on, but getting a good stretch is really great for your body. Whether you’re actually exercising, or just going about your day to day activities, you should always make a small amount of time to stretch out your muscles.
Stretching in general has many benefits – not necessarily directly related to exercise, but of course there are quite a few upsides to stretching before and/or after your workout.
Let’s look at the benefits of stretching in relation to every day life and exercise, to help us understand why we need to stretch and why a flexibility workout like yoga is so good for us.
Everyday benefits of stretching:
1. It wakes you up
Stretching has been proven to make you feel more awake, which is especially helpful when you’re at work and it hits 3 o’clock. Stretching helps to move blood that has pooled in your muscles and makes you feel tired and sluggish. So instead of pulling that chocolate bar from your drawer to wake you up in the afternoon, have a stretch to feel more energised and to avoid those unwanted kilos.
2. It’s a stress buster
When you get stressed your muscles contract and become tense, which can impact your body in a negative way. By stretching out your muscles, it can help to relax those that become balled with stress and endorphins are released which help to improve your mood and also help you sleep better.
3. It gets rid of back pain
Stretching is a great way to strengthen muscles and help them to become more flexible. Sitting at your desk all day can affect your posture, which can cause your lower back to become sore. Stretching those muscles that affect your posture, like your hip flexors and your back, can strengthen these muscles and get rid of soreness.
Exercise related benefits of stretching:
One of the main reasons that people stretch is to increase their flexibility. Having good flexibility can help you improve the way you do exercises and can also reduce the risk of injury if your muscles are stretched nicely. Flexibility allows you to exercise more easily and is especially important to maintain as your age increases.
2. It increases circulation
Stretching increases the blood flow and supply of nutrients to the muscles. This means that stretching helps to reduce muscle soreness after working out, which means that you won’t have to hold onto the wall when trying to sit on the toilet after leg day.
3. You can get more out of your workout
When you stretch your muscles and tendons become looser and easier to work with, which as a result reduces muscle fatigue. This means that you’ll be able to get a longer, better workout than if you didn’t stretch, which essentially means you can burn more kilojoules.
So get stretching, whether it’s in front of the television after work or while you’re in the gym. There are so many benefits to stretching that will have you feeling good and get your muscles in better condition.
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