Stretching And Why It's So Important
Few people can argue the benefits that cardiovascular exercise and strength training has on the body, particularly in the way of heart health and weight management. However, many individuals put all their effort into lifting and cardio, while completely neglecting stretching.
A strong, yet flexible body not only feels good, but will have you feeling more youthful and energized! Your confidence will receive a boost, along with your self-esteem! The health benefits of adding a flexibility routine into an already sound fitness program extends far beyond physical appearance.
Here are 5 reasons you should start stretching...
1. Improved Posture
In a perfect world your muscles work as one cohesive unit to give the skeletal system support and hold you upright! However, this is 2017 and our daily routines have become flooded with inactivity, causing some muscles to be overused while others stay dormant. Here's an example; most of our jobs require long bouts of sitting, leading towards shortened chest muscles and overly lax upper back muscles. Overtime, if left unattended, a "hunch-back" look can develop. To combat these imbalances, it is important to stretch and lengthen tight muscles, while strengthening loose, weak muscles!
2. Increased Circulation
Static stretching is best if done at the end of a workout, this action will increase the supply of nutrients to the muscles and relieve future soreness. Enhanced circulation will promote cell growth, proper organ and lower your heart rate. For those suffering from high blood pressure, stretching is a great way to lower the strain placed on your heart!
3. Healthy Joints
As our muscles become stronger, they placed tension on our joints. A sufficient amount of tension is required in order to hold them in place and fend off deterioration, however; if too much builds, imbalances can occur. Lets look at an example; standing with the knees "locked-out" - due to weak hamstrings and overly developed quadriceps - results in stressed knee joints, pelvis to falling out of alignment, hip and low back pain! Proper strength training paired with a full-body stretch routine will build a strong, balanced body!
4. Removal of Toxins
Playing off number 2, not only will increased circulation bring nutrients to the working muscles, it will also remove waste and toxins. Throughout exercise are muscles are broken down and lactic acid byproducts build, stretching will aid in the removal of these wastes and help bring the body back to its baseline. As an added bonus, the less toxic our bodies are, the easier it will be to shed unwanted fat!
5. Stress Relief
Stretching has the ability to "tame" stress both physically and mentally! Relieving tight muscles, moderate pace and slowing your breathing all count towards calming the body and mind. Are you one of those people who's shoulders almost touch your ears? Is your back in knots? Stretching might just be the answer! Don't force it though, if you feel pain, back off a bit and relax into whatever stretch you might be doing.