Top 10 Reasons to Stretch More
1.) Promote Better Posture.
You can stretch with the intent to lengthen the tight muscles that are encouraging your poor posture. For many, stretching the neck, chest, low back and shoulders can help alleviate many aches and pains and promote better posture.
2.) Increase Flexibility.
Could you imagine being able to bend down and pick something up without any aches or restriction? Go ahead, bend down as if to pick something up, where do you feel tight? Shoulder? Hamstrings? Low back? This is all managable with routine stretching. Flexibility isn’t just important to gymnasts and athletes, but for the average human just wanting a pain-less life.
3.) Improve Emotions.
The body tends to tense up when you’re stressed, sometimes in the neck, sometimes in the shoulders; then you’re even more stressed because your neck and shoulders are killing you! End the cycle and throw in a daily stretching routine. Stretch first thing upon waking to kick the day off right, or in the evening, to let you relax and get a good night’s rest. Either way, relax, and lengthen your muscles when you feel yourself physically tightening up, and see what it can do to let you emotionally loosen up.
4.) Improve Gym Performance.
Let’s say your goal is to build up your biceps, so you train hard, increase the weight and boom you’re curling 45 pounds! But how far can you extend your arm before you feel a pull in your bicep? Regular stretching will help keep that muscle relaxed (lengthened), so you can continue to use your full range of motion while working out. And what does having huge, sexy, tight, inflexible biceps do to the pull on your arm, on your elbow, your wrist?
5.) Decrease Tension & Soreness.
Using the above example, think of your bicep like this: you take a playing card, wrap a rubber band over it from top to bottom, now pull one side of the rubber band away from the card while you hold the cards edges. What happens? You build your bicep up but leave the other half of your arm hanging. To fix this, you’ll either want to stretch your bicep out (so the front side of the rubber band can relax), or work on your triceps development while also stretching both sides. Doing so will decrease the one-sided tension that’s pulling your arm in an unnatural way, causing you pain.
6.) Promote Blood Circulation.
Stretching brings more blood flow to the muscles. Bring in the blood flow, and you’ll bring in the oxygen and nutrients your muscles need. Once everything is loosened up, blood can move more freely and could ultimately lower your heart rate since pumping that blood won’t be as difficult.
7.) Decrease Risk of Injury.
Let’s say you’re awfully tight in your low back and glute muscles already, and you bend down to pick something up, there’s a good chance that one day something will give up, and you will be in a world of pain. But if you start stretching and bringing in that blood flow, guess what, no more restrictions when bending over, and therefore you have a decreased risk of injury.
8.) Decrease Muscle Fatigue
Again, with the blood flow; increase the blood and oxygen through stretching and you can delay and lessen muscle fatigue and soreness post-workout by giving your muscles what they need to recover.
9.) Boost Your Energy.
Anyone here work at a desk? Do you get that 2PM crash? Try getting up and taking a brisk walk around the building (or go to the bathroom and do a few jumping moves!) and get a good stretch in. Move to increase the heart rate and circulation, stretch to enhance that circulation. Have you ever really regretted getting some physical activity in? No.
10.) Lose Weight.
This is solely predicated on the assumption that, should you stick to a daily stretching routine, you will then become more aware of your body. You may realize how good it feels to actually get up and move, and I can’t recall a time when increased activity has led to weight gain! You may also take it a few steps further, maybe you’ll want to start increasing your water intake (muscles love to be hydrated, and so does your gut), or perhaps you’ll want a healthy breakfast right after that morning stretch to keep the body feeling great.
At the end of the day, your body is constantly bending and pulling…so make sure you stretch with good intentions, focusing on the muscles that need some extra love...in this case love meaning lengthening!