What daily stretching does for your body

What daily stretching does for your body
Dr Mike Edgley

All practitioners recommend it. We know we should be doing it. But it’s just one of those things that we shove to the bottom of the priority list unless we make it a daily ritual.

Daily stretching might seem like a lot of work, but the towering list of benefits should give you the nudge you need to make it part of your regular routine.

What exactly does stretching do?

When we stretch, we’re increasing our muscle length to prevent it from tightening and shortening which limits our range of motion, causes injuries, and triggers pain and tightness. By stretching, we extend the muscle for better mobility and strength when we’re asking it to do activities such as exercise or sports, and the muscle is prepped and ready to go.

What are the main types of stretches?

Static stretches typically involve stretching a muscle in a single hold for 30 to 60 seconds with comfortable pressure (usually after exercise).

Dynamic stretches are otherwise known as “warm up stretches” and involve a series of movements and gentle exercises to stretch the muscles in an active way.

What are the benefits?

We know you’re busy, so here’s the abridged version!

Pain prevention and relief

When our muscles are tight and we’re asking them to do something that involves a good range of motion, they become strained and can cause ongoing pain. Daily stretching can not only help with pain relief by gently extending the muscle to loosen it, but also to help prevent future episodes.

Increased motion and mobility

When was the last time you tried to bend down and touch your toes? Or reach your fingertips to your shoulder blades? Did you struggle? Daily stretching could help with that by keeping your muscles in a good state of flexibility to give your joints and muscles groups their full range of motion (so you can tie your shoes or scratch your back comfortably).

Better posture

How are you sitting while you’re reading this? Are you at a desk and slumped forward? On your phone with you head dropped and neck bent? Chances are, you’re naturally falling into these poor posture positions because your body has become used to them (not a good thing). Daily stretching can help break those bad posture habits by freeing up muscle groups to allow more flexibility and prevent them from contracting/shortening to a poor position.

Great for the mind

When our body is working at its best without pain, discomfort, or injuries, our minds are less stressed and freer to focus on other things. Daily stretching in the morning or evening can be a great form of meditation to prepare the mind and body for the day.  •

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