Benefits Of Stretching
You are very mistaken if you believe the benefits of stretching are strictly limited to increasing the body’s elasticity.
In fact, regular stretches can help prevent illness, improve your posture and even reduce various forms of pain.
However, not knowing how and when to stretch can end up hurting your muscles instead of improving their conditions. Then, in addition to commenting on the six benefits of stretching, we will give you tips on how and when to stretch.
What is and how to stretch muscles correctly?
In order to begin, let’s take a closer look at the definition of stretching. Okay, you already know it is related to minor strains in the muscles to help them relax and prevent injury. We usually learn that in P.E. classes. What a lot of people don’t know, however, is that there are two major types of stretching: dynamic and static.
Static practice is when you maintain your body in a stable position stretching a muscle and holding it for some seconds.
The tension we apply to the muscles is constant, but the range we force our muscles to reach is short. As the pressure we use has no intervals, we feel pain faster and limit how long our muscles can stretch.
Static stretching is the most popular way of stretching because it requires almost no space and energy. Besides, you sweat less and don’t get physically fatigued during the practice, and can even do it discreetly: in the office where you work and classrooms where you lecture or attend classes, for example.
You can stretch anywhere, even if the place isn’t proper for sports or exercises.
The primary function of static stretching is to relax muscles that have been under strain for a long time. At the end of sports practices or long time sitting, for instance, it’s highly recommended to practice static stretching.
On the other hand, if you want to prepare your muscles for exercise, you should not opt for this form of stretching. In this case, dynamic stretching suits it much better.
Also known as active stretching, this form of stretching is performed by keeping your body moving while straining your muscles. In other words, you have to change positions, from side to side, upwards to downwards, or even change positions to stretch more than one area of muscles at the same time.
It consumes more energy than static stretching, but you will be able to reach much further on your body as your muscles will be stretching and warming up at the same time. Besides, you won’t feel much pain when you reach a point that your body would usually warn you to stop straining. Your muscles will be totally prepared for exercise, so you’ll be able to get to their limits.
As dynamic stretching is a form of warming up, you should perform it before practicing sports or working out. Nevertheless, as it requires more from the body, it is not recommended to perform it after exercising. Otherwise, you might have to deal with injuries and leg cramps, which is definitely something to avoid. Keep your body safe so your consistency won’t be affected.
Done! Now you have a broader understanding of the differences between these two types of stretching and know exactly when to perform each of them. So, let’s head to the six stretching benefits now?
1. Increases Flexibility and Range of Motion
Do you miss reaching the toes with your hands without bending your knees as you did – or almost did – when you were a kid or a teenager? Make it possible again by stretching regularly! You will have more flexibility in your body and will move it painlessly.
You’ll start benefitting from it in your daily life as soon as you begin your stretching routine. For example, if you have to do house chores every day, from the most simple activity to the most exhausting task: if you stretch daily, your body will be prepared for these activities. Accomplishing them will be way easier as you’ll barely feel pain at the end of the day. Since your body will be more flexible and prepared to receive tension and strain, it won’t hurt easily.
2. Improves posture
Chiropractic care is the best method to improve your posture; definitely. But are you aware of a way to help this treatment to get even more effective? Or maybe a way to prevent your spine from reaching a state that it will need chiropractic care?
Yeah, once more, we are talking about stretching and its benefits.
Whether at home or at the gym, alone or with a professional, properly stretching your body will help keep your spine aligned and your body healthy, freeing your back from pain.
Besides that, poor posture leads to drooped shoulders, which can cause muscle pain in several other muscles in the neck, chest proximities, and arms. Avoid all these conditions by keeping an excellent stretching routine for your back and other parts of the body.
3. Keeps Mind Healthy
It is scientifically accepted that good body conditions ease symptoms of some mental conditions, such as stress, depression, and anxiety. The best part is that there is nothing simpler than practicing static stretching to reduce them since you can do it in a home session!
If you’ve been suffering from those conditions, even if the symptoms are slight and not alarming, you should start taking a few minutes out of your day to stretch and balance both mind and body health.
Obviously, in most cases, it won’t be the solution to the problem by itself, but at least keeping a stretching routine will relieve symptoms such as headaches, possible shortness of breath, and most body aches.
Mental conditions, if we pay attention correctly, clearly present physical symptoms as well. Therefore, taking care of one, body or soul, will result in taking care of both in some sense.
4. Increases blood flow
Have you been through numbness or tingling in your arms or legs? Do minor injuries sometimes seem to take too long to heal? If yes, be extra-careful as these are symptoms of poor blood circulation.
The best thing you can do here is to see a specialized doctor in the matter, but if your symptoms are weak and you are not the kind that sees a doctor for any issue, you should start exercising today to avoid more significant complications.
Stretching will make you spend less time sitting or standing in the same position for long hours. Besides, you will be relaxing the muscles when stretching and allowing the veins to perform their functions better: keep the blood running through your veins.
If you see no results and the symptoms don’t go away, please, look for a doctor!
5. Relieves post-stress or post-exercise tensions
Start your day with a dynamic or static stretching session. You’ll feel the stress accumulated at your job will seem to be little right after the start. Besides, as you keep a stretching routine, the tension in your shoulders and both back pain and headache will give you a break, lightening the mood of your daily life.
Of course, sports are included in the pack too. Relieving physical tension is stretching’s greatest specialty, which means it will prevent you from getting post-exercise pain. In other words, by correctly stretching your muscles daily, you guarantee that you will be ready and unharmed after a whole day of training and be prepared for the next day in excellent condition.
6. Is pleasant and count as self-care
Sometimes our days are so busy that we don’t have time for anything but working and doing housework. When it happens often, stress starts to build up silently until there is a sudden collapse: we start feeling physical and emotional fatigue, body pain, headaches… In many cases, we don’t even understand what’s going on.
Even though it might seem silly, by starting your days with a quick session of stretching – from 10 to 15 minutes –, besides having prepared your body for receiving and dealing with routine stress, at the end of the day, you will have practiced self-care.
Even though it may not be your favorite activity, stretching means you’re taking care of your body, and you’re giving yourself time and consideration. It may be the best option for those who have long work schedules, have kids to take care of, or are requested to read tons of books and articles to prepare a single paper for college.
Why should people under chiropractic care stretch their muscles?
When you’re receiving chiropractic treatment, both the chiropractor and you are hoping for the same thing: you reach the greatest alignment state of your spine. We’ve said it before, but chiropractic is the best way to treat spine misalignment, but still, you can help with its goal by creating a stretching routine.
Moreover, our world is getting more and more sedentary these days: we work from home or offices, spending weeks right in front of computers, spending entire days sitting on chairs. In our intervals, we take some coffee and, in best cases, sitting on a couch. We’re slowly weakening our bodies and making them more susceptible to get injured.
To prevent you from reaching such a state, stretching and physical care are necessary. Not only do they intensify natural healing, but they also help achieve your results with chiropractic care.
If you are in New York, schedule an appointment with a chiropractor to keep your spinal health at its best! And don’t forget to start a stretching routine to ensure your body will not experience the effects of stress, poor posture, poor blood circulation, and many other symptoms that may be avoided by stretching regularly.