The Benefits of Stretching for Prevention and Longevity

Just as stretching can take on many forms, so can the benefits of stretching. Even if you only dedicate ten minutes each day to the practice of stretching you will feel improvements in flexibility. Stretching is good for both your physical health as well as mental health. Set aside time each day to stretch and you will begin to experience many of the positive aspects it can bring into your life.

Physical Benefits of Stretching

Preventing Injuries

Stretching to prevent injuries occurs in a couple of ways. First, there is your pre-workout, and second, stretching helps you to complete daily activities.

Pre-Workout

Before exercise, many people stretch. Did you know that you can do harm stretching cold muscles before a workout? The best way to prepare your muscles for an intense workout is to first warm them up by walking, jogging, or doing some other type of light activity for ten minutes. Once the muscles are warmed up you are ready for your stretching routine, then full workout. After exercise, stretching is also recommended for a short time.

The benefits of stretching pre and post-workout result from increased blood to flow to the muscles which reduce tearing. When you are building new muscle fibers old fibers are broken down and rebuilt. This process requires adequate blood flow for the delivery of nutrients and the removal of excess lactic acid. Stretching on both sides of your workout will increase blood flow to the areas you need it and reduce the risk of injury as well as post-workout soreness.

Daily Activities

Your body will feel the benefits of a regular stretching routine every day. No matter the type of job you have, we all have some physical labor to do at some point in the day. Even standing up for long periods of time cooking and doing the dishes can cause injury in people that do not take the time to stretch. This is especially important for those that do not impellent a regular exercise routine.

If you do not stretch or exercise and you bend over to remove some dishes from the dishwasher, you could easily throw out your back. Take Pat for example, Pat does not exercise or stretch on a regular basis. Pat is experiencing some additional stress at work, there is a big deadline coming up, and everyone is at their wit's end trying to get everything done. Pat goes home after a long day and sees that the kitchen trash is overflowing. Pat picks up the trash bag with one arm, and all of a sudden cannot move. The combination of the added stress at work, not stretching, and the way that Pat sits at the desk has caused Pat’s back muscles to seize up and throw a vertebra out of alignment. The doctor tells Pat to stay home for the next week, get some rest and think about taking a yoga class to help strengthen and realign the back muscles.

Pat’s situation is not uncommon for most Americans that find they do not have ten minutes a few times a week or more to stretch. The benefits of stretching here are clear. Stretching helps to loosen and strengthen the muscles, so that day to day activities like picking laundry up off the floor are not problematic.

Mental Benefits of Stretching

The psychological benefits of stretching revolve around blood flow, the delivery of nutrients, and removal of toxins from the brain and hormone-producing organs such as the liver. Also, stretching will release endorphins that are mentally stimulating and help to fight the symptoms of stress and depression.

Priming the pump, or stretching for a few minutes each day will get your blood moving and allow stressed muscles to relax. When you are stressed, as Pat had been in the previous example, your muscles remain tense for the period that you feel the mental anguish. Tensed muscles will slow down your blood flow and cause you to age at a faster rate. Most people will not notice that their muscles are tense until there is physical pain associated with it. Beat the physical symptoms of stress by stretching often. 

There are many benefits to stretching, no matter who you are or what you do. Stretching exercises can be completed in many different ways for people at all levels of flexibility. If you have yet to integrate a stretching routine into your day; start or end your day with a few easy stretches and add new ones or increase the complexity each week. Either way, regular stretching is highly recommended to be sure that you stay in good health, for more health tips check out the EHE blog.

Feel Better.
Live Better.

SHARE