Stretching helps the body when it has been idle for a period of time and stretching can prevent injury before a physical activity like playing sports or taking a cardio class. We stretch instinctively as most people tend to need a good stretch first thing in the morning after a night’s sleep. When you wake up from sleeping, it is the natural instinct to stretch and cats, dogs and other animals do it too. It helps to wake you up and generally feels good. When you sleep, your muscles lose tone and fluid tends to pool along your back. Stretching helps to massage fluid gently back into the normal position.
Athletes are mindful to stretch for optimal performance and to avoid injury. It is also beneficial to stretch again post-workout when muscles are more flexible. Sometimes, it is not instinctive to stretch and we need to remind ourselves to do it. Sitting at a desk all day or standing in the same position for too long can make us feel ‘stiff’ and it is necessary to force a series of stretches throughout the day for good health. Stretching is good for keeping your body limber and healthy. Here are some other benefits to stretching:
The blood flow into muscles that are relaxed and still will naturally decrease. Big stretching movements after being idle get the circulation going again. Stretching pushes the blood out to the extremities and invigorates you.
Flexibility, Balance and Posture
Stretching helps loosen the muscles and the increased blood flow helps with flexibility. Increased flexibility has many health benefits and means less likelihood of experiencing poor balance, which means you will be less likely to fall and suffer injuries. Stretching daily can also help with posture. If you have good posture, you are less likely to suffer back and other pain and will have more vitality and endurance.
A good stretch is a soothing and calming way to assist your body and mind to move from a resting to an active state. Stretching helps relieve tension and stress as it is physiologically beneficial and the sensation helps you feel more positive mentally. To get the most of your stretches make them long and slow and keep them dynamic rather than static (held). Stretching is a natural motion that gives plenty of health benefits.