If you're more flexible, it means you're a better person.
Just kidding. On a more serious note, though, now that many of us have been working from home going on six months, and have children who are doing the same, it's more important than ever not to abandon healthy habits. Most of us know that stretching helps prevent injury, but many will just forget about it if they're not in any immediate pain. However, stretching provides many other interesting lifelong health benefits when practiced consistently.
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1. Stretching helps you age more gracefully.
As our bodies grow older, we tend to lose flexibility and balance, which makes us more prone to injuries caused by falls. Stretching will help you to remain more sure-footed and coordinated as you age.
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2. Stretching improves your posture.
Adults and children are spending significantly more hours in front of their screens these days. It's all too easy to sit slumped over at our desks or lie on our beds with our laptops. Maintaining these positions puts a lot of strain on the muscles in our backs, shoulders, and necks, and can weaken them, too.
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3. Stretching makes you look good!
Yes, you read that right. Stretching will actually make you look more attractive. Engaging in stretch exercises increases blood flow and nutrient delivery to your muscles, helping to improve their tone and overall shape. Plus, the improvement in your posture will draw more admiring eyes.
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4. Stretching relieves pain.
Are you more prone to headaches after a long day in front of your computer? This pain could likely be explained by a combination of stress and poor posture. Many people carry stress and anxiety in their muscles to begin with, and stretching can help you to relieve this tension and relax.
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So how do you establish a routine that's right for you? Don't try to put your nose to your knees too quickly. Learn about proper technique. Take your time and listen to your body; if a stretch hurts in a bad way, ease up immediately.
It is recommended to stretch for 10 minutes 2-3 times per week, usually after your muscles are already warm from a workout so as not to cause any strains or tears. Try to touch on major muscle groups with a focus on sore or tight muscles, holding each stretch for 20-30 seconds, but don't overwork an area that's already injured. Bouncing is not recommended, since the impact can increase muscle tears. Try supplementing with a foam roller on particularly tight and sore spots. Most importantly, be consistent so you can reap the full benefits.
What are some of your favorite stretches? Let us know in the comments!