Stretching feels so good but we rarely make time for it. With chronically sedentary desk jobs, picking up babies and car seats all day, or perhaps being on your feet all day, muscles are tight, sore, inflexible and often achy by end of day. Try getting just a few stretches in to improve posture, relieve soreness, and keep you feeling your best every day.
Benefits of Stretching
A few minutes of stretching every day can reap huge benefits in your fitness and in your life as a whole. Reducing muscles soreness and stress are two key benefits of stretching. Sore muscles don’t perform well in exercise and don’t feel good any time of day. Stretching away some of your aches each day will help you to improve your fitness by giving your muscles and joints the flexibility to perform at peak during workouts. Additionally, this reduction in tightness and soreness has been shown to relieve the feelings of stress and anxiety, promoting a more positive outlook and healthful lifestyle.
Stretching has also been shown to improve posture, bolster energy, and promote blood circulation. The benefits of stretching reach far beyond the physical as well. Stretching allows you time to focus on breathing, relaxing and calming your mind. Though it is easy to get some stretches in mindlessly, you will reap the most benefit mentally and physically if you take a few moments to really focus on your body and how it feels while stretching.
The When, Where, and How of Stretching
In the morning: Focus on boosting energy and preparing for the day ahead. Do some dynamic stretches that promote blood flow and loosen up your joints from sleeping.
At your desk: Try flexing and wiggling every joint in your body once per hour of being at your desk. Start with your toes and ankles and work your way all the way up to some slow forward neck rolls. You’ll be much less tense by end of day!
Before meals: Get a few toe touches and core twists in before each meal to promote digestion and blood flow. Doesn’t hurt to burn a few extra calories as well.
Before bed: Wind down and push the day’s troubles always with some relaxing muscle tension release. Focus on any sore areas of the body and try deep breathing coupled with each stretch to relieve stress and prepare for a good night of sleep.
Anytime: No matter where you find yourself throughout the day, if you feel a twinge of muscle pain, try to stretch it out. If you continue what you’re doing with a tight, sore muscle you increase the chance of overcompensating and eventually injuring yourself.
Try any combination (or all!) of these stretching techniques to feel the benefits of increased energy, reduced stress and serenity.