Since the good old days of elementary school we have been told to stretch before any physical activity, but who has the time to stretch anymore? I mean come on, with an 8+ hour work day, kids to put to bed, chores to do and trying to find the time to get out and exercise, where are we going to find the time to stretch…
Well, I know it’s tough, but stretching is a really healthy habit which you should start now! If you aren’t already. Here are a few reasons why you should get in your daily stretches;
- You will move around more easily with less aches and pains - Regular stretching can relieve stiff muscles and creaky joints. By focusing on working on a range of exercises including mobility and soft tissue exercises, including the foam roller it can really help you to remain more flexible and supple.
- You will improve the way you work out whilst preventing injuries. Without adequate stretching your muscles will gradually begin to tighten. Without an ample range of movement certain exercises become more difficult which can then have an effect on other parts of the body. Take the squat for example. If you do not have the flexibility in the knees and ankles to perform the exercise properly then other parts of the body will have to compensate for the poor form. This is how injuries and lower back problems can occur.
- You will recover from injuries faster. If you stretch often and remain more supple then any muscular injuries that occur, you should be able to recover from them faster. Your body will be able to more efficiently move nutrients to those parts reducing muscles soreness. Think about it, the first thing that a Physio tells you to do after you have an ACL reconstruction or a tear of any ligament is to begin a series of stretches. As the tighter ligaments or muscles get the harder it is to get back that range of movement. Daily stretching if it becomes a habit will help you recover and prevent future injuries whilst also improving blood circulation.
- You will stress less. Stretching can help tame tension both physically and mentally. It will help relieve tight muscles while tricking you into feeling more relaxed.
- Fortifies posture - Stretching can also help ensure correct posture by lengthening tight muscles that pull areas of the body away from their intended position and keeping your muscles loose. Stretching the lower back, chest, and shoulders can help keep the spine in better alignment and improve overall posture by relieving aches and pains.
- Improve athletic performance - If your muscles are already contracted because you haven’t stretched then they will be less effective during exercise. Regular stretching will relax all of your muscles which means they are more available during exercise.
So if you have a few spare minutes in your day then make sure you carry out a few stretches and if you don't have the time then work on finding some ;) As you will really see the benefits.