The Importance of Stretching
Stretching is often seen as something only people with sporting commitments and physical athletes practice. We usually don’t realise that stretching is not just limited to pre-exercise activity.
What most people don’t understand is that stretching should be practised by everyone regardless of how active you are. Stretching helps your muscles stay flexible, healthy and strong.
It also helps to loosen up joints as well as keeping them flexible. It provides plenty of health benefits, ranging from physical to psychological. Stretching doesn’t only improve your health, but can also enhance your performance in sport or any other physical task you encounter throughout your day.
Stretching consistently on a regular basis not only improves your physical condition but will also prevent you from injuring yourself when doing physical tasks, by helping your body feel better immediately after its practice.
However, your physical health will benefit in the long term as a result of diligent stretching. In an interview with NBA Star Lebron James, states that stretching on a regular basis is one of the main reasons he was able to prolong his playing career as well as being able to perform at the highest level so consistently.
Why You Need to Stretch
Stretching should not be seen as something you can do, instead it’s something you must do. Below is a list of reasons why you need to incorporate stretching into your day:
Stretching can improve your posture. Many people have poor posture due to lifestyle conditions and habits. Often we find ourselves sitting more than we should.
Sometimes we don’t have the time to exercise or incorporate enough physical activity into our day. Stretching can be done anytime, anywhere. Posture can be easily improved and corrected by stretching.
Stretching strengthens joints and muscles and assists your body to hold the correct shape and reduce its need to slouch.
By stretching on a regular basis, your body becomes more flexible. By building a strong core and creating flexible joints and muscles, your physical abilities and motor skills can significantly improve.
Prevents Cramping and Injury
Stretching helps your body build strength and balance. By increasing power in your body, you aren’t only improving your physical motor ability but also decreasing the chance of getting injured.
This is why most athletes stretch their body before and after their performance.
Relieves Tension and Stress
A healthy body builds a healthy mind. When stretching at the right times of the day, you’ll notice that it can boost your mood. When your body is feeling nimble and fresh, you’ll feel less tension in your body during the day.
Helping your body feel energised and healthy as opposed to groggy and tense, is one less stress in your busy day.
When is the Best Time to Stretch
A great time to stretch is usually in the morning before you have anything to drink or sleep. As your body doesn’t get much movement during sleep, muscles and joints will tighten.
By stretching in the morning, you’re activating your body parts, releasing any tensions you may have from the night before, leaving you prepared and ready to tackle the day.
The Night Before
One of the last things you can do before hitting the pillows should be stretching. By stretching every night, your body will be relieving any tensions or soreness it may have built up during the day.
By releasing these tensions, your body will be more relaxed and soothed for a better night’s sleep. This will also prevent your body from feeling sore or cramped from the day before.
Before and After Physical Activity
The most critical time you should be stretching is before and after physical activity. When performing an exercise or an activity that is physically demanding, you need to make sure that stretching is part of the warming up process.
By stretching muscles and joints, your body will be ready to handle the pressures and physical demands of your activity. This also decreases the chances of getting injured. By stretching after physical activities, this will help relieve any built up tension and allow your muscles and joints to ease up and recover quicker.
After Long Periods of Idle Activity
When your body doesn’t move for a long period, muscles and joints may build up tension and become fatigued.
You can keep them feeling flexible and energised by stretching them out. This can help you feel refreshed, invigorated and you won’t feel tired. This will also help to improve posture in the long term.
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