Updated: Jan 31, 2021
Remember when you were in grade school, and your gym teacher would say "don't forget to stretch" (or at least I hope your teacher did). Did you do it? Or did you head to your next adventure?
Isn't it funny that even as kids we seem to be so busy, so busy to take five minutes to stretch our body?
Now that I am older I realize how important it is to stretch on a daily basis. I feel the aches and pains when I don't do so. I have learned more and more the importance of making time to stretch; when I wake up, before and after a workout, and before heading to bed. Stretching is vital, even on the days when you do not workout.
When I initially started working out consistently I skipped the stretching component and as a result my muscles were tight. After a while I would start stretching very quickly and I felt better but it still wasn't enough.
During my work day I spend a lot of time sitting so I make sure to stretch throughout the day. I take a long walk to the bathroom, walk around the building and static stretch my extremities (arms and legs). Our back and hip bones tend to become tight when seated for long periods of time; it's important to keep the blood flow to all muscles open and regular.
It's been two years since I have started to practice yoga. Reasons I enjoy it is because it reminds me that I'm in competition with myself, the importance of focusing on my breath, and the benefits of stretching. Yoga has truly opened my mind to the importance stretching and breathing. My lower back pain has severely decreased since beginning the practice, my balance and posture has improved.
I can tell you all of the benefits of stretching and how important it is, however until you actually give things a try, you'll never know.
Benefits of stretching:
-increases your flexibility
-increases your range of motion
-aides to calm your mind
-increases blood flow to your muscles
-improves your improvement in physical activities
-reduces muscle tension
One of the repeated words above is 'increase', 'increase', 'increase'. Isn't that what life is about? Increasing your happiness, increasing your growth, increasing your opportunities, increasing your patience, increasing your health. Increase, increase, increase.
I knew I needed to make a habit out of stretching because I wanted an increase my range of motion and flexibility, so I made it a priority. If that meant waking up a few minutes earlier or stretching before a workout class then that's what it takes.
Give ample time for stretching every single day, your muscles and mind deserve it.
I encourage you to make time to stretch on a daily basis, even when you don't work out. It can be when your watching TV, on the phone, in between meal prepping. Listen to your body and feel how it reacts to the increases.
As always work on becoming the best version of yourself, you are your only competition!
Owner, Soul Health Chronicles