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Stretching is not just for Yogis

Who knew stretching is just as beneficial to your body as exercise? Well, growing up I certainly didn’t. In fact, stretching before track meets and soccer games consisted of social time while lifting your legs here and there. Today however, I long to be more flexible and limber. I have the tightest hamstrings and when I stretch it hurts, but that’s no excuse to simply give up stretching altogether. Stretching is beneficial to everyone. Young or old, fit or sedentary, stretching can do wonders.

As we age, our range of motion decreases as well as our flexibility. Add a sedentary lifestyle to the equation and we are doomed for tight muscles and a hunched spine. Most of us are working at a desk and sitting all day. Additionally, we are hunched over at the computer. This causes havoc on the thoracic muscles and the hip flexors.  How can we remedy this? Simply consider the importance of stretching and add the following tips to your routine.

Benefits:

  • Improves flexibility
  • Increases range of motion in joints
  • Lengthens muscles and tendons
  • Decreases risk of injury
  • Increases blood circulation to muscles
  • Prevents soreness of muscles
  • Aids in workout recovery
  • Enhances balance and coordination
  • Corrects posture and assists in proper body positioning
  • Calms your mind
  • Improves energy levels
  • Releases tension in muscles
  • Reduces stress

Tips:

  • Stretch after a warm-up or exercise to ensure your body is warm
  • Focus on the tight muscles
  • Try working on flexibility and mobility for 45-60 minutes per week (take yoga!)
  • Flexibility depends on the duration of holding a stretch position- aim for at least 30 seconds
  • Change positions slowly and gently- don’t bounce
  • Seek symmetry- equal flexibility on each side of your body
  • Aim for tension, not pain
  • Don’t stretch if you suffer from joint sprains, fractured bones, or acute muscle strains


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