Posted in Balanced Body | June 11, 2013 | Comments Off on 8 Reasons You Should Stretch Each Day
When we were babies, sticking our foot in our mouth was an everyday occurrence; today, most of us are lucky if we can tie our shoes without a moan and a groan. And that’s too bad because stretching each day can help keep the doctor away. If you are looking to stay young, healthy and flexible, then stretching is a must. Here are 8 reasons why.
1. Keeps You Flexible: As we age, our muscles tend to get shorter and less mobile. This will eventually lead to slower movement as well as leaving you vulnerable to muscle strains, pains and tears. When you are more flexible, you are more likely to be active. That, in turn, can keep you youthful, thin and healthy. Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be broken–both literally and metaphorically speaking.
2. Relieves Pain: The number one complaint for individuals with desk jobs is lower back pain. The reason for this is commonly a lack of flexibility in the hamstring muscles. With all that sitting, these muscles shorten and with the help of gravity, strain the lower back muscles as you are pulled down closer and closer to earth. You can eliminate this pain by standing every hour and doing a forward fold. Don’t know how? See the handy guide below!
3. Improves Circulation: When your muscles are relaxed, blood flows through the body with ease. This will not only help your muscles but the rest of your body as well — it even helps your brain stay more alert. You can also heal more quickly from injury and illness.
4. Strengthens Muscles: To start with, when you stretch out after a workout, you are bringing blood and oxygen to muscles, flushing out lactic acid and bringing in amino acids to start recovery. So you are less likely to be sore the next day and able to hop right back into your workout. You also increase your range of motion, which will help you build more muscles in areas that you were unable to stimulate in the past.
5. Strengthens Bones: One of the first things doctors suggest to patients with osteoporosis is stretching. As I just explained, stretching helps build strong muscles and strong muscles help build strong bones. The stronger the muscle the stronger, the more it can support bones and the stronger they’re allowed to grow too.
6. Increases Energy: When you stretch daily, you decrease your blood pressure and relieve stress. Energy that is typically used for stressing out will now be free to roam in your body, giving you the energy for more constructive activities.
7. Improves Posture: With your body loose, you will be able to stand up proud and tall. Tight muscles cause our shoulders to slouch, our spine to bend and our hips to turn too far in or too far out. When you have great posture the world responds to you quite differently. You appear confident, capable and more attractive.
8. Keeps Your Heart Healthy: Heart disease — which can be induced by high levels of stress–is the leading cause of death today. Stretching calms you down and decreases blood pressure. This will help your heart stay strong and healthy.
5 Stretches in 5 Minutes:
(Do these several times a day)
- Neck: Roll your neck from side to side. Move the left ear as close to the left shoulder and vice versa. Count from 1 to 60 as you move side to side.
- Shoulders: Create 30 big circles in a forward motion with your shoulders. Create 30 big circles in a backward motion with your shoulders.
- Forward Folds: In a seated or standing position, separate the feet hip distance apart. Keep a straight spine and reach for your toes. Count to 60.
- Spinal Twist: Lie flat on your back. Pull your knees to your chest. Shift your hips to the left and drop your knees to the right. Rest both shoulders flat on the ground. Count to 30 then switch sides.
- Stretch Your Lungs: Take 30 deep breaths. Count from 1 to 60, inhaling on the even numbers and exhaling on the odd numbers. Fill your lungs up to full capacity, stretching them out and empty them almost to the point of gasping.
There are so many benefits to stretching. If you just scan over the few I mentioned you can see that doing it each day will make your life so much easier. Stretching can benefit you from head to toe. So take the time to give your body the extra help it needs, I guarantee you won’t regret it.