Why everybody needs a good stretching routine

September 3, 2020

It's often the first thing you do after opening your eyes in the morning. A good stretch not only feels great, but a daily stretch routine offers a host of health benefits beyond keeping muscles long, lean and healthy (and who doesn’t want to feel longer and leaner?). If you’re not already in the habit of a morning stretch routine or trying new stretches before a workout, these are the best stretches you’re not already doing.

Why everybody needs a good stretching routine

Why everyone needs to stretch

Before we talk about all the good things stretching can do for your body, consider what happens when you don’t stretch regularly. Inactive muscles can tighten and get stuck, creating a pulling effect on ligaments, tendons, bones and joints. Sound painful? It often is. Then mobility of those joints becomes limited. The good news is that the damage can be undone, with regular stretching exercises.

Daily stretching can benefit the whole body by increasing flexibility and range of motion and improving posture. You’ll feel less stiff, experience fewer muscle aches and pains and those healthy muscles will be at less risk of injury. Stretching your whole body will boost circulation, which in turn increases energy levels and can help manage stress. And if that’s not enough, stretching just feels good! As with other types of exercise, stretching releases endorphins, your body’s natural happiness chemicals.

When is the best time to stretch?

There’s never a bad time to stretch, but it’s especially important before and after any physical activity. Pre-workout stretching is key for injury prevention while post-workout stretching is important to prevent muscle soreness and reduce recovery time. Even if you’re not planning to work out, you can begin your day with a morning stretching routine or take a break from work in the afternoon to try a series of stretches at your desk that improve flexibility and mental alertness (goodbye, afternoon slump!).

How to stretch

As with any new exercise regime, it’s important to check with your doctor before starting. Once you get the green light, go slowly and avoid these common stretching mistakes:

●        Do not bounce.
●        Never stretch to the point that you feel pain.
●        Stretch both sides of the body equally to avoid creating an imbalance.
●        Don’t push too hard. Overdoing a stretch can make muscles weak and loose, or cause tiny tears in muscles or ligaments.

3 stretching routines to try

Full body stretch routine (video)
This simple beginner flexibility routine stretches the whole body in just 15 minutes. Use this short and balanced sequence to enjoy the full physical and mental benefits of a stretching routine.

Morning yoga stretch routine (video)
The overlap between powerful stretching exercises and the mindfulness practice of yoga is clear. Try this 10-minute morning yoga stretch for beginners to begin your day by releasing tension and setting a positive intention for the day. Om!

Before-and-after workout stretch routine
This full-body stretch routine can help avoid injury when done before and after a workout, or help release tension that accumulates sitting at a desk all day.

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