Why You Should Stretch Every Day
Chances are when you wake up first thing in the morning, it’s instinctual to let out a cathartic yawn and stretch your muscles out, relieving any tension or stiffness that may have happened while you were dreaming. As simple as it seems, you’ve just engaged in a fitness routine, as stretching offers many positive health benefits.
Intense workouts are a great way to lose weight and put on muscle, but increasing muscle flexibility and blood flow ensures your body is safe and prepared for the day. Stretching not only prevents injury, but also increases the range of motion in your joints and muscles. This can help improve your posture, as tension and stiffness can pull your body into slouching or improper balance. Stretching can also help decrease stress and keep you more alert during the day.
Your body will stretch naturally, but to get the most of this impulse, don’t treat it as a warm-up for exercise. Instead, take time after a light workout to stretch your muscle groups mindfully:
- To improve your posture, focus on the lower back, chest, and shoulders.
- To aid digestion, target the lower abdomen.
Make sure not to over exert yourself, as over-stretching can cause just as much tension and stiffness as not stretching at all. Avoid, bouncing your muscles when stretching as this can lead to tearing.
Stretching is easy to fit into your daily routine – when you hit the couch at the end of a long day, take a few minutes to do some light stretching! Sit on the floor and do some gentle stretching for several minutes to alleviate tension. In general, take about three days a week to focus on each muscle group; your body and mind will thank you.