Have you ever seen a cat or a dog jump out of bed in the morning and grab their toy right away? No, right? They always take a few moments to stretch before they go hunting for their favourite toy (in the humansphere, this favourite toy is the cell phone). Even through the day, they’ll stretch a few times, luxuriously lengthening their furry bodies. If quadrupeds never forget the benefits of stretching, why do we?
Stretching is seen as a lazy person’s wellness regime. But in fact, stretching those muscles regularly will make them stronger and more flexible. Stretching tones our muscles and prevents their degeneration. This in turn will keep our joints protected from aches. The popular belief is that stretching is necessary either only after an intense workout or if you are looking to gain flexibility. Stretching is a must for everyone! Here’s why:
It improves blood circulation
Your body needs to move to remain healthy. A sedentary lifestyle will eventually catch up on you and start impacting your blood circulation. Dynamic stretches are a great way to keep the blood flowing through our body. A dynamic stretch is when you don’t hold a stretch for too long, but keep moving from one stretch to another. If you’re one to get easily bored, you’ll enjoy the constant movement of dynamic stretches.
It will keep your range of motion high
With time and age, the range of motion of our joints begins to get smaller. Stretching regularly can counter this process. If you make the habit of stretching, you’ll find that age is no barrier to a flexible body!
It will improve your posture
If you spend too much time in front of a computer, on the phone, or driving, you probably have a terrible posture simply from ongoing contraction of the muscles in your torso, and lengthening of the muscles in your back. A regular stretching routine will help you fix this. If you have an active lifestyle, stretching will help you maintain a good posture.
It will get rid of tightness (and weakness) in the back
In Yoga, they say, you are as old as your spine feels. Or perhaps it’s a Chinese proverb that the Yogis have appropriated. It doesn’t matter. What matters is how true it is! If your spine is flexible, mobile, strong and supple, you will be active for a long time. Your skeletal system is what holds your body together. Without a healthy skeletal system, everything will collapse. Doing the right stretches will make your back strong and flexible.
It will help you de-stress
The mind and body are deeply connected to each other. Stress tends to nestle in our muscles, causing tightness and discomfort. Neck, shoulders, and soas are some of the areas we hold tension. When you stretch, you not only release muscle tension, but also some of the mental stress that sits there. Stretching also releases endorphins, which improves mood.
So, what are you waiting for? With so many benefits of stretching, you should be doing it every day! And here’s the fun part – you don’t need more than 10-20 minutes a day!
I write. I read. I do yoga. I hula hoop. I love cats and dogs in equal measure. I'd say the same for wine. My zen motto: "Eat kale for the body, cake for the soul." Find me on IG: @prachigangwani87