Health

Benefits of living life at full stretch

Incorporating stretching into your daily routine can do wonders for your health and body

After completing a super rewarding workout, you simply cannot wait to hop into the shower.

But have you been missing out on stretching?

Even when you are not exercising, spending just 10 minutes every day to get a good stretch - whether it is at home or in the office - does wonders for your health and body.

Here are some benefits that will make you want to incorporate stretching into your daily routine.

INCREASES FLEXIBILITY

As age catches up with you, your muscles start to stiffen and your range of motion decreases. This hinders your physical performance and even simple day-to-day tasks like bending down to pick up a pen you have dropped require arduous effort. Stretching loosens your muscles and ensures they maintain their range of motion.

ALLEVIATES JOINT PAIN

Joint pain does not come just because you are growing older - the lack of stretching plays a part too.

When the muscles around your joints are tense, unnecessary force is placed on your joints, pulling them out of alignment. Your joints will suffer when they are unable to bear the weight of the force.

Even if you do not feel the ache in your joints now, there is no harm starting your daily stretches today.

RELIEVES STRESS

Stretching is a great way to help you loosen up and ease your anxiety. When stress levels are high, a fight-or-flight response is triggered, causing your body to tense up.

This results in pain in areas like your shoulders, back and neck where the tension is held. Stretching can help relax your muscles and relieve some of the tension.

BOOSTS ENERGY LEVELS

On days when you feel lethargic and find yourself nodding off at work, get up from your desk and do a few static stretches like neck rotations or shoulder rolls - they will give you a quick energy boost. Your muscles tighten when you are tired, making you feel even more fatigued.

Doing some quick stretches releases the tension in your body, and makes your mind clearer and sharper for a more productive day at work.

IMPROVES POSTURE

Do you often find yourself slouching or hunching over even when you are standing?

Tense and tight muscles pull other muscles away from their original position, causing your alignment to shift. Over time, it leads to serious issues like back pain.

Stretching lengthens your muscles and ensures that they stay in the right position.

Stretch your lower back, chest and shoulder muscles to keep your spine aligned and improve your overall posture.

PREVENTS INJURIES

Stretching before and after a workout is important for your body to perform optimally. It lengthens your muscles and increases your range of motion, letting you benefit more from your exercises. High-intensity training that requires your muscles to perform at a near-max level can result in muscle tears or pulls if you do not warm up and stretch properly. Injury also sets in when your muscles are forced to perform beyond their capacity. And if you run often, it is normal to find your calves and hamstrings to be super tight.

ENHANCES SLEEP QUALITY

Working nine to five at a desk-bound job is bad news for your shoulders, neck and back. That is why you may find yourself tossing and turning in bed on some nights, struggling to find a comfortable position. This is a sign that your muscles are excessively tensed. Try to develop a stretch routine before bedtime.

Easing the tension in your body before bedtime helps you to fall asleep more quickly and have undisrupted sleep throughout the night.

This article was first published in Shape (www.shape.com.sg).

WELLNESS & BEAUTY