Stretching Your Limits

The Importance of StretchingWe all know that exercise is important and that most people probably don’t get enough of it. We know that we should be eating healthy and have lots of greens, fiber, and protein on our plates. We know we should be drinking a lot of water and getting a good amount of sleep. But do enough of us know the importance of daily stretching?

It’s probably not too much of a stretch (get it?) to say that stretching isn’t something most people think about when considering their daily routine. Here are five benefits of making stretching an important aspect of your day-to-day life and then four tips for making the most of your stretching routine without injuring yourself.

The Benefits of Stretching

The list could go on and on, but here are a few benefits of stretching:

1. Improves Posture

Stretching will improve your posture by strengthening your muscles and encouraging proper alignment. Thus, you’ll be able to stand up straighter, prouder, and — hopefully — happier. Having better posture can improve breathing and self-image and can lower the risk of future health complications, like backaches or poor blood circulation.

2. Lessens Risk of Injury

This is the most obvious and well-known benefit of stretching. Stretching warms and loosens your muscles, so if performed before another activity, your muscles are less likely to pull or tear.

3. Increases Blood and Nutrient Supply

Stretching allows not only your blood, but also essential nutrients, to flow more easily through your body. These fresh supplies of blood and nutrients will also prevent soreness, something every active person can appreciate!

4. Calms the Mind

Stretching gives your mind time to quiet itself and think, an important thing to do in a world that is continuously getting louder and more hectic.

5. Increases Energy

Because of the increased supply of blood and nutrients to your body, you will have more energy! You will feel more invigorated about completing the day-to-day tasks in your life.

Benefits of StretchingStretching Correctly

But to reap these benefits, knowing how to stretch correctly is important. Here are four things to consider during your stretching routine:

1. Not a Warm Up

Don’t think of stretching as a warm-up. Stretching cold and tight muscles can result in injury. Before stretching, take five to ten minutes to warm up with light cardio, such as jogging or jumping jacks.

2. No Bouncing

Bouncing while stretching can also cause injury. While stretching, only use smooth, continuous movements.

3. Don’t Hurt Yourself

While stretching, you should push your limits but never to the point of pain. You should be able to feel the tension from your muscles stretching, but if you feel pain, you’ve gone too far.

4. Don’t Stop

One of the keys to reaping the benefits of stretching is consistency. Stretching at least two to three times a week can help you improve your flexibility and lead to the things mentioned above!Benefits of StretchingNow you’re in the home stretch! We’ve talked about why you should stretch regularly and how to stretch without injuring yourself. Now it’s your turn to make the next move and start stretching. Start small; you can’t expect yourself to be a flexible acrobat after two days. If you consistently work at it, though, you will begin to notice the differences and will start to reap the benefits in your everyday life. It just takes a few minutes a day, so make stretching a part of your routine!

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