Stretching is actually more important than you may think. You may be under the impression that stretching is just something you do before and after a workout, but it is actually far more than that. Stretching is essential to your overall well being.
Without stretching out your muscles every day, you can be more prone to sore muscles, and aches and pains when you move. In addition, you can be more likely to become injured, and your muscles can get tight, or even pulled.
This is why stretching should be an essential part of your daily routine. It’s not just for the fitness fanatic. Stretching is a great way to keep your body in good physical condition, and it only takes a few minutes a day to see a real difference in your flexibility and mobility. So, what are the real benefits of stretching?
Benefits of stretching
Stretching is not just for warm ups, it should be a vital part of your daily routine. For instance, there are many benefits to stretching for just a few minutes a day. Stretching can help ease muscle tightness and soreness, prevent injuries, speed up recovery and keep your body in good shape, whilst improving your flexibility.
By stretching every day, you can also improve your range of motion, and see better results in your work out, as your body and muscles are already warmed up and engaged before you start!
One of the main positives of stretching is the fact that it gives you greater flexibility. This means that your body is mobile, active and healthy, as flexible muscles can help you move more, perform better and reduce the risk of injuring yourself.
If you are inflexible, then you are more likely to pull a muscle, cause problems such as sciatica, or even reduce your mobility and range of motion due to those muscle aches and pains. This can even result in you overcompensating on other muscles because of the pain you are in, which can cause further injury and more damage.
Stretching can also help to perfect your posture. This can reverse the effects of bad postural habits, so stretching is essential to keeping yourself in good health. Those of us who sit at a desk all day, or are hunched over for long periods of time are more prone to back problems and lower back or hip pain. By stretching regularly, you can reduce the risk of developing a condition due to this, and ensure that your posture is aligned.
Some of the most common conditions due to bad posture are kyphosis and hyperlordosis. Kyphosis is what we usually call a hunchback posture, which is caused by shortened chest muscles from sitting down. By stretching out the back, spine, chest and shoulders, you can actively prevent this from happening to you.
On the other hand, hyperlordosis is when the lower back curves inwards, which can cause tight back muscles and bad posture. Stretching can help fix poor alignment and poor posture, allowing you to be comfortable, fit, and in no pain.
If you have caused an injury due to poor mobility, or after a workout, stretching can also help aid your recovery. The muscles that are injured will need to heal, and stretching can help increase the blood flow in the muscles, which effectively speeds up the recovery process and helps reduce inflammation and soreness. Just be sure that you are not overstretching the injury and making it worse.
When will I become more flexible?
If you stretch regularly, you will be able to see results in just a few weeks. For instance, if you use our daily stretching routine below, you start to reap the benefits and improve your flexibility in just six weeks.
All you need to do is integrate this stretching schedule into your daily routine, and stretch just 10 minutes a day for six weeks. If you stick to this, you should be able to see a considerable improvement in your flexibility, and you will have helped your muscles a lot in the meantime!
Daily stretching routine:
Stretching for just 10 minutes a day will make all of the difference to your muscles, flexibility and overall well being of your body. We have just five stretches that will improve your flexibility when used as part of a daily stretching routine.
1. Hip flexor stretch
The hip flexor stretch is an essential stretch, especially for those who sit down for long periods of time. We’re looking at you, office workers! Your hip flexors can become shortened if you sit without stretching, which can cause a lot of pain and even sciatica.
To do this stretch, simply start in a kneeling position, and straighten out your back leg, but keep the heel off the floor, and stay on your tiptoes. Then, place the opposite hand on the floor, and twist your body with the other arm lifted up and look towards the ceiling. Hold the position for 30 seconds, and repeat with the opposite leg outstretched.
2. Side stretch
The side stretch begins with you sitting on the floor. Begin with one leg extended outwards, and tuck the opposite leg in towards your stomach. Then, side bend over the extended leg, and keep your shoulders stacked. Think of this position as a ballet dancer, as they sit with one arm stretching over the extended leg. Stretch for about 30 seconds, and swap the legs over.
3. Hamstring stretch
To do the hamstring stretch, you will need to stand with a wide stance, with your feet parallel to each other. Then, bend over whilst engaging the core, and lean down into a hamstring stretch. You may find it easier to cross over your arms and hold your elbows whilst you hang down, however, as you practice, you should reach to touch the opposite toes with your hands. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.
4. Runners Stretch
To do this stretch, you are going to need to start with a kneeling position. Then, straighten out the front leg, and use your hands on the floor on either side of your calf to support your weight. Lean, and push through your spine into your stomach to feel the muscles stretching, and to keep a straight alignment. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, and swap the extended leg over and do the other side, too.
5. Peroneus Stretch
For this stretch, you will want to start by sitting down. Then, extend one leg forward, keeping the other foot to rest on the inside part of the opposite leg’s knee. Then, take the opposite hand to the extended foot and reach to touch your big toe. Try to keep your back straight, and sit in an upright position, with your lower back pushed up, and proper posture. Hold this position for 30 seconds, and repeat by swapping over the legs.
To summarize, stretching should definitely be part of your daily routine, as it is essential to the upkeep and health of your muscles. Just 10 minutes of simple stretching every day can improve your flexibility, reduce the risk of developing muscle aches and increase your recovery time.