You may think of stretching as something performed only by professional athletes. But we all need to stretch in order to protect our mobility and independence. Stretching regularly and properly keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy. We need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints. Most know it’s important to stretch before physical activity, but stretching every day regardless of physical activity is important as well.
What are the health benefits of stretching? Here are five benefits to stretching:
1. Promotes Blood Circulation
Stretching increases the blood supply to your muscles and joints. Increased blood circulation is good for your body as it brings nutrients to cells and removes waste byproducts.
2. Improves Range of Motion
As we age, our joints lose range of motion. We can counteract this by stretching regularly. Even if the range of motion in some joints is limited, stretching can help to improve this.
3. Relaxes and Relieves Stress
Pain is exacerbated by stress in the body. Stress can activate the immune system and cause increased inflammation. And inflammation can aggravate many causes of chronic pain. Stretching helps the mind and body relax which encourages more wellness, relaxation, and more healing.
4. Increases Flexibility
In addition to being able to touch your toes, flexibility results in increased strength and speed, and it helps with overall performance when it comes to anything physical or athletic.
5. Increases Oxygen Flow
Breathing deeply and intentionally while stretching will increase your oxygen flow. Oxygen is one of the body’s natural healers. If you ever taken deep breaths to help reduce your stress or pain, you know that increasing oxygen flow throughout your body can help with healing and minimizing pain.
Put Stretching On the Calendar
If you’re struggling to get your movements in, try giving scheduling a try. Stretching can be possible no matter how busy your day looks, especially because you don’t have to break a sweat to reap its benefits! You can even be waiting in line at the grocery store or talking on the phone at your desk and still be stretching, you can turn the camera off on a Zoom meeting for a second and stretch, too, just make it a priority.
The more you stretch, the more supple and flexible you’ll become. Doing some stretches can help limber you up, so you can more easily go about your daily activities. Strengthening the muscles around your joints can improve your coordination, enhance your position awareness and balance, and reduce the risk of falling.