When we think of stretching we tend to picture it in the context of preparing for or winding down after a workout. Those are definitely important times to stretch. However, taking some time to lengthen and loosen your muscles every day—whether you are exercising or not—provides a number of important health benefits.
What’s more, these benefits may lead to others such as reduced fall risk in seniors and faster recovery from injury or workout-induced soreness. If you have any health issues, be sure to talk with your doctor before beginning
a stretching exercises.
The Benefits of Stretching Every Day
As mentioned above, there are many benefits to adding stretching to your daily routine. A daily stretching routine can:
Daily stretching can increase your flexibility, which is important for overall health. Flexibility can help you perform everyday activities easily, and can delay the onset of reduced mobility as a result of aging.
A lack of range of motion can make it hard to balance. When your muscles are stiff, it can be hard to move swiftly to maintain balance, especially when leaning or reaching. Stretching regularly can help loosen and lengthen the muscles. This increased flexibility will allow you to better maneuver to stay balanced as you move.
Relieve muscle tension
Tight muscles can lead to a decreased range of motion, which can result in injury. Stretching can help loosen tight muscles, heal existing injuries, and prevent future back injuries by relieving muscle tension.
Muscle imbalances can lead to poor posture. Stretching specific muscle groups can reduce pain and encourage proper alignment. As a result, you may notice your posture improves as well.
Increase blood flow
Stretching regularly may help improve circulation. Better circulation increases blood flow to the muscles, which can reduce recovery time and soreness.
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5 Moves to Add to Your Basic Stretching Routine
Stretching even infrequently produces benefits, short-lived though they may be. However, a daily stretching routine provides lasting effects.
Keep in mind that how long you hold a stretch and how often you repeat it should be based on your fitness and comfort level. Ease into every stretch until you know your individual tolerances. It’s important to listen to your body; intense or lingering discomfort means you should dial it back.
1. Downward Dog
Start on all fours on the floor with your shoulders directly over your wrists. Push your hips up toward the ceiling to form a triangle with your legs and back straight and your head between your arms. Hold the pose briefly, relax and repeat. This stretch works your hamstrings, mid-back and shoulder muscles.
2. Standing Calf Stretch
Using the back of a chair for balance, put one foot forward with your knee bent while leaving the other foot flat on the floor behind you with your leg straight. Gently lean into the forward foot until you feel the calf muscle of your back leg start to stretch. Relax and repeat, then switch legs.
3. Child’s Pose
Start on all fours on the floor. With your hands staying where they are, move your hips back until your bottom rests on your heels. Look down at the floor and hold the position. Relax and repeat. This stretch works your middle, lower back and shoulder muscles. It’s a very calming pose.
4. Cat Stretch
Start on all fours with your hands directly below your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips. Look toward the floor as you tuck your pelvis and round your back toward the ceiling. The cat stretch lengthens your spine and stretches your neck and back muscles.
5. Floor Hamstring with Strap
Start on the floor, on your back. Loop a strap around one foot. Without bending the knee, raise that foot toward the ceiling until your leg is perpendicular to the floor (or as close as is comfortable). Keep your other leg extended and flat on the floor. This stretch works your hamstrings and calf muscles. Relax and switch legs.
Add Stretching to Your Daily Routine
These five everyday stretches are a great start to a regular basic stretching routine. Of course, if you have the time and the interest, there are many more poses you can work into your regimen. Ultimately, any stretching you do will have a positive impact on your fitness and flexibility.
Become a Healthier You With Daily Stretches
Baptist Health is here to be your partner on your journey to becoming a healthier you. To learn more about the services we offer, or how we can support your health, visit BaptistHealth.com. Find a provider near you via our online provider directory.
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