6 Reasons why you should be stretching
Stretching benefits go beyond the already known injury risk decrease. It can calm your mind, decrease back pain risk, give you an energy boost to start the day well and at the same time, improve your sleep. Even a short amount of time (10 – 15 minutes) of this practice can bring amazing results to your quality of life. So why not starting it today? Here it is a list of benefits to inspire you to.
Benefits of stretching
- Stress Relief: Stretching makes our body release endorphins, dopamine and serotonin, which help to decrease anxiety, motivate you and fight off depression.
- Energy Boost: Due to the release of dopamine, stretching is a natural pick me up, increasing productivity and driving you to pursue your goals.
- Injury Risk Decrease: You become less prone to sports injuries due to the increased flexibility and improved range of motion stretching promotes.
- Posture Improvement: Stretching helps the posture correction by lengthening tight muscles that pull parts of the body away from the intended position. In other words, it reverses all the harm we do to our musculoskeletal system by sitting all day.
- Decrease in the risk of lower back pain: Flexibility in the hamstrings, hip flexors and muscles attached to the pelvis relieves stress on the lumbar spine, which in turn reduces the risk of lower back pain.
- Sleep Enhancement: At the same time stretching act as an energy boost, it also improves sleep. It relaxes muscles and prepares the body for sleep through regulation of melatonin secretion.
How to take the best of Stretching
- Foam roll or make a quick massage with your hands first to break up any adhesions in the muscle fibres and results in greater benefit being gained from your new stretching regime.
- Warm up with 5-10 mins of low intensity activity (walking, biking or jogging are good options). This wakes up the body, includes blood flow to our muscles and prepares the body for exercise.
- Focus on major muscle groups at a time, you can make it sport specific or go for whole body including: calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, gluteal, chest, back and neck pain.
- Hold stretches for 30 seconds to 1 min. The longer and more regularly you can stretch the more long-term benefits you will see.
- For sport specific: e.g. soccer players focus predominantly on legs, while rugby or AFL incorporate more whole body.
- Make it a regular thing, whilst it can be time consuming. It is only a waste of time when done sporadically!
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