There’s a reason why a little stretch after a long car ride or stint at the computer feels so darn good.
Actually, there are quite a few reasons! Turns out, we could all use a little more intentional stretching in our lives. Here are just five benefits you might experience for a regular stretch routine.
1. Improved flexibility and range of motion
Regular stretching can help increase the flexibility of your muscles, which has an important impact on the range of motion of your joints. This ultimately gives you more freedom of movement, allowing you to kick all the day’s physical and metaphorical goals with greater ease.
Better flexibility is also associated with better mobility as we age, which has such a huge effect on almost every aspect of our lives and ongoing independence.
2. Better blood flow to muscles and tissues
A regular stretching routine can help you improve circulation, allowing our cardiovascular system to better deliver oxygen and nutrients to hungry muscles and tissues. This is also important in reducing the effects of DOMS, or delayed onset muscle soreness. (Anyone who’s ‘felt that workout’ the next day will know what we mean here!)
3. Improved physical performance
Stretching before a workout can better prepare our muscles for movement and contribute to better performance overall. It can also help them repair any exercise-induced damage afterwards.
4. Better posture
Stretching in combination with strengthening exercises can help us better align our muscles and bones, which is particularly important when it comes to posture, back stiffness and chronic pain. With so many of us spending so much time at desks or in front of screens these days,
practices that can improve our posture are super important to explore!
5. A calmer mind
Taking some time to intentionally stretch and breathe is great for the mind as well as the body.
This can essentially become a form of mindfulness practice, which an increasing body of science is showing to have awesome impacts on our stress levels, attention, memory, and mood.