Updated: May 23
You probably know exercise is important, but what about stretching and flexibility? Yes, absolutely! Don't skimp on the stretch.
Stretching can help you:
Improve range of motion
Boost athletic performance
Decrease risk of injury
Why is flexibility so important?
Having a flexible body is vital to our health and well-being. Good flexibility can improve athletic performance, support your ability to perform a variety of physical activities, and reduce risk of injuries.
And flexibility isn't just important for athletes, it also helps you prevent injuries from everyday activities, such as muscle strains that might occur when getting out of bed, lifting or carrying something, bending down to pick up a child or even walking up and down the stairs.
Stretching should always be incorporated into a workout routine, but including it in your daily routine is just as important. A few minutes spent stretching before you move into a busy day filled with responsibilities will help you focus and increase blood flow to your muscles, getting you ready for action!
Health benefits of stretching and flexibility.
Flexibility, as a result of regular stretching exercises, is a wonderful benefit to your body. When your body is flexible, the muscles around the spine are strengthened and supported, improving your posture and reducing neck, shoulder and back pain.
In addition to improving posture, here are some other excellent health benefits from stretching:
Improved energy levels. Do you ever find yourself feeling sluggish and even feeling sleepy from a long, slow day? Just getting on your feet to do some light stretching exercises and get the blood flowing to the muscles can provide a quick energy boost and boost mental alertness.
Promotes blood circulation. Stretching increases blood flow to the muscles, and will shorten recovery time after workouts and athletic sports.
Reduced aches and pains. Stretching before and after exercise, gives your muscles time to relax, preventing cramping, and relieving overall muscular pain.
Improved blood circulation. Stretching helps improve blood circulation, which takes strain off the heart, especially after more vigorous physical activity.
Better sleep. Stretching before going to bed will relax your muscles and promote deep breathing for a more comfortable and deep sleeping experience.
Stress relief. A build-up of stress can cause your muscles to contract, making you feel tense and restless. Tension can have a negative impact on your mind and body and even lead to feelings of anxiety and sadness. Research has shown that regular stretching has the power to reduce stress and encourage a more positive outlook.
Relieve tight muscles. Using the same muscles every day, especially if you regularly carry a bag or a backpack, sitting at a computer for long stretches, or using a series of repetitive motions can cause certain muscles to tighten on one side, creating an imbalance which often leads to increased muscle tension. Stretching can relieve tight muscles and bring your body back to feeling better balanced.
One of the best results that comes from utilizing regular stretching exercises is body flexibility. Flexibility helps you move through the normal day-to-day range of motions without the risk of injury. Conclusive research has shown that stretching and flexibility enhance the performances of athletes, like swimmers and basketball players, by providing easier arm and shoulder extension and rotation. Anyone who is regularly active, gym goer to the weekend warrior, should be conscientious about stretching to avoid injury and promote a healthy range of motion and muscular balance.
Stretching and digestion.
On big holidays of festive occasions, it is traditional to gather with friends and family to share in a huge, celebratory meal. These dishes are often elaborate and usually richer and sweeter than you are used to. Ever experienced eating yourself silly, barely making it to the couch to then sink deep into the soft cushions for several of hours?
How about doing things differently and avoiding some digestive problems at the same time?
After your festive meal, instead of heading for the couch, head outside for a short walk and encourage others to go with you! Alternatively, if going for a walk is not possible because of weather conditions etc., doing some gentle stretches after eating will help to ease digestion, prevent acid reflux, and relieve bloating and gas.
Yoga exercises, which include a variety of stretching poses, have been known to help with digestive problems. Studies have shown that when stretching in yoga is combined with a healthy diet, it helps to relieve constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and acid reflux.
While yoga exercises mainly focuses on poses that include stretching, many of the exercises also instill a state of calm for the body and mind. Practicing some type of yoga stretching exercises can also help to relieve built-up stress and tension, reducing muscle cramps and soreness.
Regular exercise of any kind improves the body’s ability to digest food, and studies have shown that regular stretching improves blood flow to the muscles, which can also prevent bloating and cramps.
Better digestion along with a healthy diet will also help to promote weight loss, and stretching will strengthens and lengthens for a leaner look, keeping your muscles loose and flexible.
For good health and freedom of movement – get stretching!
Are you are a woman who is ready to live healthier and happier, ditch the diet, and discover small steps that make a big impact so you can live a life you love in a body you are proud of? Come join me inside my women’s-only Facebook Group - The Healthy Habits Club. It's where busy women go for tips, tools and support so they can eat healthy, move daily, and feel good for life!