We have all heard that stretching is good for us, but do we know why?
Incorporating stretching into your exercise program after exercise is important to ensure proper cool down, promote muscle recovery through blood flow and release tension in the muscles sustained during training. Incorporating longer/ yoga style stretching sessions (30min-1hour) into your schedule once or twice weekly has be shown to provide many benefits such as; the release of tension build up that causes muscle imbalances, reduced risk of injury, lowers stress levels, increases blood flow and improved general well-being and quality of life.
Chronically tense muscles contribute to poor posture and alignment, which can affect the functioning of vital organs and not to mention our appearance. Taking the time to properly stretch the muscles of the lower back, shoulders and chest can greatly help in keeping the back in better alignment and improving general posture.
As we age our range of motion in our joints gradually decreases as our muscles tighten and become less elastic. Simple activities such as picking things off the floor or zipping up a dress can become difficult. Regular stretching can help lengthen your muscles and help ensure these simple activities do not become dreaded chores and possible risks for a pulled or strained muscle.
Stretching works to reduce stress in a few different ways. Firstly, by taking the time out of your day to stretch and unwind is a great way to practice self-care that will leave you feeling energized and refreshed to take on the day or enjoy a night of deep sleep relaxation! Secondly, stretching will help to combat physical effects of stress by stimulating the nervous system and decreasing the levels of stress hormones produced in the body. Lastly when you slow down and stretch, and pay attention to where you are feeling stress or pain, you may realise where you are holding tension and be able to focus and work on these particular areas and alleviate any discomfort.
Stretching with proper technique can help to increase the blood flow throughout the body. Stretching along with cardio and resistance training is an important part of your exercise program. With increased blood flow, oxygen and nutrients are more easily delivered to your muscles and organs through your blood which will lead to better recovery from exercise and general health and wellbeing.
So, keep up the hard work… and make time in your week for a more relaxing form of exercise too!
Ainsley*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.