8 Benefits of Stretching Daily
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If you feel sore, tired or unmotivated, maybe what you need to do is stand up and stretch. Flexibility is vital to well-being, but you might be one of the many who skips out on the cooldown segment at the gym. The benefits of stretching daily are impossible to ignore.
Why should you make room for flexibility training every day? In short, you give your body a host of perks. Here are eight benefits of stretching daily that should encourage you to take a few minutes to reach those limbs.
1. Increases Flexibility
The most evident benefit of stretching daily is increased flexibility. While it might not seem as vital when you are younger, preserving your range of motion becomes crucial as you age.
When you are younger, your body pulls tons of water into your muscles to maintain elasticity, but its ability to do so decreases with age. Therefore, you have to compensate by engaging in daily stretching. Doing so gets your synovial fluid going between moving parts to keep you more comfortable.
2. Improves Stamina
If you think stretching is for relaxation only, you’ve never tried to see how long you can hold warrior pose. Some flexibility training doesn’t only elongate muscles, but it also helps to build their endurance.
Some poses that you can do to build strength include uttanasana or chair and any warrior variations. Balance poses are fantastic full-body workouts that engage the muscles around your core to keep you from wobbling. Even poses such as eagle invite you to perform isometric moves by pressing against your arms and legs.
3. Reduces Injury Risk
Visualize two rubber bands. You keep one pliable by stretching it between your fingers, but you throw the other in the freezer. Which one will break first when pulled to the limit?
If you said the frozen version, you win the kewpie doll. When your muscles don’t see much activity, the fibers become shorter. The same can happen with your connective tissues, meaning that instead of bending when you fall, you tear a ligament or tendon. One benefit of stretching daily is less frequent injuries from daily tasks — like reaching for the remote without getting up from the couch.
4. Helps Ease Muscle Soreness
DOMS stands for delayed-onset muscle soreness — it’s what causes you to ache after trying a new workout. While stretching won’t eliminate DOMS, it can keep post-workout stiffness from exacerbating other symptoms.
Doctors frequently prescribe exercise for those with chronic conditions, but many patients fail to comply, saying that it hurts. It helps to think of your nervous system as a highway. If they’re carrying rush-hour traffic of pain signals from too-tight muscles and inflammation both, you’ll feel overwhelmed with agony. Easing one source of the ache cuts down on the number of messages your nerve fibers send to your brain.
5. Eases Lower Back Pain
Many people experience low back pain because their hamstrings become tight from excess sitting. You can ease the ache by trying to touch your toes throughout the day.
Another way to ease low back pain is by performing a seated cat-cow stretch at your desk. Scoot forward on your chair and place your hands on your thighs. Alternately, inhale while arching your back and exhale while rounding it. Complete as many repetitions of this breath-body movement as necessary until your ache starts to ease.
6. Improves Blood Flow
Your blood carries oxygen and nutrients through your body. Getting it flowing can reduce any achy areas and is a decided benefit of stretching daily.
Excess sitting can cause blood to pool in your extremities, which can lead to painful swelling. Performing a few ankle rotations can help when on a long flight or train ride.
7. Reduces Stiffness
If you feel stiff or sore when you get up from your desk or tumble out of bed, a few minutes of stretching can help. Why not perform a few yoga moves before your feet hit the floor in the morning?
If you observe animals in the wild, they frequently stretch their limbs. Follow their example and make yourself more jellylike before starting a new activity.
8. Promotes a Brighter Mental Outlook
Finally, any physical activity stimulates the release of endorphins. These feel-good body chemicals act as natural opiates to boost your mood while easing pain.
Experiment the next time you are in a terrible mood. Try popping on a 15-minute yoga video — you can find hundreds on YouTube for free — and losing yourself in gentle stretching. See if you don’t feel better by the time you finish.
Get the Benefits of Stretching Daily
You can reap multiple benefits of stretching daily, including many of the ones listed here. When you don’t think you have space for a workout, opt for stretching, as you can work on your flexibility just about anywhere. Add more flexibility training to your routine today, and you’ll start to see differences in your body.