Why is Daily Stretching Important?
We always hear from fitness coaches or other health experts about daily stretching and encouraging people to stretch before exercise.
You may think that it is not necessary unless you are performing elite level sports, however, we all need to stretch in order to preserve our mobility and independence.
Even if you are not planning on exercising vigorously, it is still important to stretch daily in order to enjoy the health benefits.
Inflexibility Leads to Pain & Injury
Without stretching, the muscles shorten and become tight – limiting range of motion in the joints.
Then, when you call on the muscles for activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way, which puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.
For example, sitting in a chair all day results in tight hamstrings, making it harder to extend your leg.
Then you start some strenuous activity such as running or playing tennis, which then suddenly stretches the hamstrings and may cause damage.
Injured muscles may not be strong enough to support the joints, which can then lead to joint injury.
Regular stretching keeps muscles flexible, strong and healthy, and this means that exertion won’t be too much force on the muscles.
Sleep Causes Stiffness
Likewise, every night as we sleep, our muscles “turn off” and go into recovery mode where they lie still for many hours.
While the muscle fibers repair and build, the fascia that surrounds the muscles also rebuilds and stiffens.
When you wake up in the morning, the only way to get rid of that stiffness that you feel is to stretch it out.
Just as a cat or dog does when they awake, the first thing they do is stretch!
It’s a natural instinct for them to keep their body limber as a means of survival, it’s intuitive.
A limber body protects us from injury as well as improves the quality of all aspects of life.
Over time, the fascia stiffens further, becoming calcified if we do not take the time to stretch on the daily – which again leads to decreased movement and possible injury.
So find the time to make stretching a priority.
Stretching Reduces Muscle Soreness
You will experience less muscle aches and pains generally if you have flexible, and well-conditioned muscles, even without an injury present.
Because stretching allows for an increase in nutrient dense blood supply to flow throughout your body, it helps to reduce muscle soreness.
Most of us carry stress in our muscles, particularly when feeling overwhelmed, muscles tighten acting as a defensive mechanism.
The more you stretch, the less tense muscles will be and therefore stretching is a very effective form of stress management.
If you are dealing with overly tight muscles, it is important to focus more on those areas first so that blood flow increases and tension is reduced.
Once you’ve stretched out these tense muscles, movement becomes more fluid-like and soreness is reduced over time.
Daily Stretching is Good For Your Metal Health!
As mentioned, daily stretching is great for stress management, not only for the physical body but also provides your mind with a mental break.
With the fresh oxygenated blood flow, it allows you to recharge, resulting in a calmer and more peaceful mindset.
Also your energy levels will be increased resulting in a sense of vitality
The Cumulative Effects of Daily Stretching
Stretching every now and then won’t be enough to give you the flexibility needed for optimal health.
You have very likely developed tight muscles and stiffness over many years and so it makes sense that you’re not going to be completely flexible after one or two sessions!
You’ll need to remain committed to the daily process over quite a few months to get flexible, and you’ll have to continue on to maintain it.
We also need that flexibility to maintain good physical posture and balance.
Each day builds upon the previous and this ensures you will be as limber and pain free as possible for life.
What Stretches Are Best?
There are few ways to stretch, depending on your physical condition, the body part you’re stretching and what you plan to do immediately after your stretch routine.
It is best to do a light warm up of walking, jogging on the spot, skipping, cycling or rowing on the machines and star-jumps etc to get your heart rate up and blood pumping before you start your stretching!
This is because stretching cold muscles could do more harm than good.
At that point, you can do dynamic movement type stretches which involves moving through your full range of motion to gently expand your range.
Or you could simply do static type stretches, holding for period of 30 seconds or more in a full (safe) stretch position.
Yoga is a great way to incorporate stretching into your daily routine, and there are different styles which allow you to do either type of stretches.
For the long, slow poses you could do yin yoga or restorative yoga, and for more dynamic stretching you could choose a yang style such as power flow.
In this article we go into more detail and run through a great all-round daily stretching routine that anyone can do.
It is important to note that you should start slow and ease into it.
Pain is a normal part of the stretching process, but it should be a tolerable pain.
You are going to hard if you feel any sudden sharp or burning pain, and you should stop right there.
Stretching is FUN with a Yoga Swing!
As with anything though, it is tough to get going and start a new habit, but once you start to build momentum you will find it easier to keep it going!
Making your daily stretching fun will help a lot in forming this positive habit. At the very least, try stretching 3-4 times per week.
Stretching is a great way to take a break from your busy day to recharge and strengthen your body and your mind.
You can make it a dance, and let the movement flow through you. Or as mentioned above, yoga is amazing for cultivating flexibility.
Of course we believe one of the best and most enjoyable ways to stretch out your body is by using the Gravotonics Yoga Swing!
This just takes your stretching, yoga and fitness workouts to a whole other level so check them out today!