Stretch and smile.. The benefits of stretching daily.
Have you ever been sitting in the same position for a long period of time, then eventually find yourself engaged in a huge stretch? Hands way over your head, back arched.. I bet you noticed how amazing it feels, right? There’s a reason for that. Whenever our lives call for repetitive motion, our bodies can often crave to regain our natural range of motion. Range of motion can begin to diminish due to a number of factors including age, and of course, our day to day activities that may limit us. Such as sitting at a desk or driving… So why does this matter?? Ultimately because if we are not stretching our bodies we may have a higher risk for injury. The further your body can go in one direction freely, the less likely you will be to pull a muscle or strain yourself.
So, moving forward we should all take a look at what our daily activities already include.. If you already have incorporated stretching into your typical day, than perfect! Take a look at the stretches you already do and make sure part of that routine is to pay special attention to the areas of your body that may be over used. For example if you sit at a computer for a lot of the day, make sure to gently and carefully stretch your neck and shoulders. This goes for new mommas too. Holding your new bundle of joy, carrying the car seat and all the new mommy duties can leave you quite stiff.. But of course for good reason.
So if you are already stretching daily keep it up, and don’t forget to include your target areas, this will increase blood flow to those parts of the body. If you are not stretching daily, maybe think about starting. Great thing is, its not a major commitment!! As little as 5 minutes a day you will benefit! Even get the family involved, you may find a boost in your energy level due to the increased circulation. Lets look at a few other good reasons to stretch..
Reduces Stress: Yes, its true! Stretching helps with stress. When you stress, your muscles tighten and become shorter. Sound familiar? I can actually feel this occurring in my body when there is a stressful event. If you have a high stress job it is important to exercise and stretch your muscles. It can help clear your head and increase your circulation. Plus! Stretching is an exercise in of itself, so you will receive a mood boosting endorphin rush as well.
Muscular Coordination: Muscle coordination tends to decrease as we age, but through regular stretching we can easily prevent this. Enhanced muscle coordination can help prevent minor injuries from tripping, falling, and other accidents.
Improved Posture: Frequent stretching helps prevent your muscles from staying tight and effecting your posture. Better posture will reduce future muscle aches and joint pains, not to mention make you appear taller.
Lastly, I would like to remind everyone of their hands and feet. We can all benefit from stretching and massaging our hands and feet daily. Increased blood flow can help with soreness and stiffness from over use.. Maybe get a nice smelling hand and foot cream to use before bed, take any rings off and gently massage and pull on each finger, do the same to your feet if you like… I like Burts Bees products for this.
Do you have any daily rituals involving stretching that you would like to share?? We hope to hear from you!