Importance of having stretching exercises in your routine.
There is no greater pleasure in life than having long, lean,and flexible muscles. You might want to challenge this notion and admittedly, there are a few things that are equally as amazing. Having established these statements as ‘absolute’ truths. Having muscles that can extend to their full range of motion is an experience that should not lack in your lifetime.
But is it enough to stretch from time to time. Of course not. Just like most things in life, consistency is the key. You have to have a fully established stretching routine that you DO NOT make excuses to skip. Daily stretches would be ideal but when you can’t, maintaining a routine of at least three to four times a week will do just fine.
Which Muscles Should You Stretch?
Even if you’re hellbent on stretching all the muscles in your body. The most critical, and therefore those that need your constant attention are those responsible for mobility. These will be found in your lower extremities. Your calves, your hamstrings, your hip flexors in the pelvic region, and quadriceps in the front of the thigh. Additionally, some attention should be dotted on your neck, shoulders and lower back
If you feel like going that extra mile. You can consult a physical therapist, who can access your muscle strength and tailor a stretching program for both strength and flexibility.
Let’s look at some of the reasons that will motivate you to be consistent.
Stretching will Increase your Range of Motion
Regular stretching comes with the advantage of being able to move a joint to the full range of motion. Giving you more freedom in movement. Most stretching techniques will improve your range of motion over time. PNF-type stretching ( where you stretch a muscle to its limit) however, is more effective for immediate gains.
Improving range of motion in turn increases performance. This is because the more range of motion you have, the more muscle you’re able to activate, helping you gain more strength.
Stretching Increases Blood Flow to Your Muscles
We’ve all had the horrific sore muscles and cramping after having an intense workout. This might make us dread the workout even more. With a regular stretching routine however, circulation to your muscles is improved. Consequently, this shortens recovery time immensely. Reducing muscle soreness. Otherwise known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
Stretching will Increase your Flexibility
This might be the main reason you want to start stretching. You’re on the right path already. Regular stretching is a great way to help increase your flexibility. Which in turn is very beneficial in overall health. Improved flexibility makes you efficient in doing everyday activities. At the same time it helps delay the reduced mobility that comes with age. Making a walk in the park ‘a walk in the park.’
Stretching Improves Posture
There is nothing more beautiful than a routine that has a compound effect. Stretching does not hold back on its benefits. When your muscles are imbalanced, this might result in poor posture. Stretching certain muscle groups can encourage proper alignment and reduce musculoskeletal pain. Which in turn has a positive effect on posture.
Stretching Helps Prevent and Heal Back Pain
Back pain is greatly influenced by posture and range of motion. Which increases the likelihood of straining the muscles in your back. Stretching can also help you heal existing back injuries. A consistent and regular stretching routine not only helps strengthen your back muscles, but also reduced the risk of muscle strain substantially.
Stretching can be a Form of Self Care that Calms your Mind Relieves Stress
When you’re dealing with stress, your muscles tense up. As a result of your muscle’s adaptation to tighten in response to emotional and physical stress. When stretching try and focus on areas where you tend to hold the tension. This is mostly the neck, upper back and your shoulders.
The calming effect of stretching comes because while you stretch, you’re more mindful of your body and practice some meditation exercises. Giving you the much needed mental break.
As a plus, tension headaches are also relieved, when combined with adequate hydration, a proper diet, and rest.
If you’re new to stretching, pace yourself. Learn how your body works and spend time learning the proper technique. With just a little bit of effort the reward should be bountiful. It will take weeks to months to get flexible. But once you get the momentum going. Do not look back.
Here are some of the most effective stretching exercises courtesy of Vital 7™
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