Why is stretching important?

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Stretching is often talked about and recommended to do on a regular basis, but why is it important and what can you gain from it? In this post, I share with you 10 good reasons why you need to stretch:

1)REDUCED PAIN AND STIFFNESS

Excessive muscle tension can increase discomfort throughout the body. We are aware that frequent stretching can help to decrease stiffness, reduce pain levels (especially in individuals with chronic neck or low-back pain).

2)MINIMISED WEAR AND TEAR ON JOINTS

When muscles become tight and tense, opposing muscles become weakened, producing unnecessary wear and tear on joint and structures within the body. Regular stretching helps to keep a balance of muscle support around your joints and therefore reducing potential wear and tear.

3)ENHANCED RANGE OF MOTION

Stretching can help release restricted joints and maintain or enhance motion throughout the body.  This is especially important as we currently live in a very static world – for example, sitting at our desks, in cars, or on the sofa for many hours at a time.

4)DECREASED STRESS

Stress can produce a number of undesirable responses in the body, including increased feelings of anxiety, fatigue and tension. Regularly stretching has been shown to reduce tension and ease symptoms including headaches.

5)BETTER-QUALITY HEALTH

Regularly performing stretching exercises (including activities like yoga) can help to reduce blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rate, counteracting the body’s physiological responses to stress and muscular tension.

6)IMPROVED FUNCTION

As a result of poor posture, repetitive movement patterns and improper body mechanics; muscles in the body can become tense, tight and contracted, causing them to become less strong and supple. Regular stretching helps to improve overall function by ensuring your body can manage and help ease repetitive habits, jobs or tasks.

7)REDUCE RISK OF INJURY

Dynamic stretching has been found to be effective at reducing the risk of injury.  Stretching is often used as part of pre-exercise warm-up to help increase core body temperature and prepare the body for movement. As a result, stretching is often considered an important part of injury prevention – as cold muscles and tendons in the body have a greater likelihood of injury.

8)HEIGHTENED PERFORMANCE

When part of a conditioning fitness routine, flexibility can enhance power, agility, speed and muscle strength – therefore heightening your performance.

9)IMPROVED BLOOD CIRCULATION

Regular stretching can help to improve blood flow and circulation, therefore enhancing the transportation of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood throughout the body.

10)IMPROVED QUALITY OF LIFE

While there are physiological changes that occur as we grow older, regular stretching and performing range-of-motion exercises can greatly improve flexibility in all ages. This helps to increase longevity and enhance your overall quality of life.

 

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