It’s important to have a focus on getting workouts in, taking time for cardio and strength. By putting in the time to strength train we can reduce muscle loss, maintain strength through treatment and recovery. However, stretching is often severely overlooked within the routine.
Stretching usually takes a backseat to all other priorities. Constantly rushing off for family time, work, appointments, and regular home responsibilities, often we are lucky enough to take the time or have energy left for exercise. It’s easy to skip the stretches, warm-up, and cool down of a workout session when there are such limits on our time. Honestly, though, stretching should be just as important as strength and cardiovascular exercise.
Flexibility and balance are essential components of fitness and can have a positive impact on our overall results, as well as a reduction in injury occurrences.
TOP 7 BENEFITS OF STRETCHING
Here are a few important reasons why we should always try to include stretching as part of our fitness routine:
- Avoid Mobility Problems: As the human body ages, it is expected that mobility will be reduced with time. But we can extend our years of agility by increasing our flexibility, which can help to slow down the aging process. Regular stretching helps us keep up with everyday activities, ensuring that we can enjoy our lifestyle with ease.
- Improve Range of Motion: When the range of motion within a joint is limited, it can have an impact on our freedom of movement.
- Reduce the occurrence of injury: Before starting into exercises- especially strength it’s important to warm up muscles and be prepared for the activity ahead. Active stretching is a safe and gentle way to gear up for your workout.
- Help manage pain and often discomfort: Stretching can be a crucial part of helping improve recovery of recurring back pain. By working to strengthen the core and back muscles and incorporating regular stretching it can reduce the risk of strain in the back.
- Improve circulation: increasing the blood flow through your muscles it can help deliver nutrients to help in recovery.
- Improve posture: overly tight muscles can cause an imbalance in muscles and can lead to poor posture. The best way to maintain a tall, strong posture is through regular stretching and strengthening.
- Release tension: Tightness and soreness, especially neck and back can be a big sign of holding onto stress. Stretching has so many muscular benefits but can also help in stress release and help manage what’s to come.
We often live at our desks through the day at work, couch when in pain or treatments, and constantly sitting can cause imbalances in our strength affecting posture and pain. The best way to work to reduce and improve that area is slowly adding stretching into a routine. If you feel tightness in your neck and shoulders, set a timer for a few minutes and work to loosen your shoulders, breathing through the stretches and allowing yourself to let go of that tension.
Stretching doesn’t have to be just before or after a workout, it can be while watching tv, before you go to bed or just downtime in your day. Spend a couple of minutes on one of two muscle groups- repeat it two or three times per week. Make a goal to be consistent at it, set an alarm for a specific time, write it in your schedule, plan it at the beginning or end of a workout or just plan that for your exercise time, or take a yoga class.
The more consistent you become at adding a little stretching in your routine the more you’ll notice the benefits. As those benefits become part of your routine it’ll become a habit. Just start small with a few minutes each week and note how you feel.
about the author
Linnley joined HealthTree in January 2020 as the Fitness Events Manager. Her husband is a childhood cancer survivor as well as a cancer biologist. Finding a cure, better treatments, and balance through treatments is what drives their family. Linnley is an Advanced Cancer Exercise Specialist and focuses on finding what you can do rather than can't.