7 Reasons You Need To Stretch
One – Most of us have no idea how important stretching is. It’s also easy to forget to stretch. Every class I teach I can guarantee you that at least one person will leave the class just as it is about to end and we begin to stretch. Stretching is often overlooked because the results are not as visible as lifting weights or squatting. Stretching can lead to better posture, fewer aches and pains, greater confidence, and improve your mood. It increases your blood flow and circulation for a healthier body and sends oxygen to your brain for a clearer mind and and improved mood.
Two – Obviously, if you are working out, stretching can do your body wonders. After exercising, your muscles may feel tight. During weight training, your muscle length shortens; this can leave you feeling tight and sore. Directly after your workout, you should stretch the muscles that you just trained to feel less tense.
Three – Daily use of muscles can cause them to get tight, especially if you carry a purse or backpack on a regular basis. The heavier the bag, the more your body can tighten up on one side to compensate for the extra weight on one side. Stretching can alleviate muscle tightness and bring your body back to feeling more balanced.
Four – Your thoracic spine, which is located in the middle of your back, is very important to stretch and keep moving. Simple rotational stretches throughout the day are extremely important if you drive, sit, or just stay in one place for a few hours of the day. When the thoracic spine becomes tight, it can create many problems up and down the body. I have seen my clients’ necks, shoulders and chest tighten up or become unstable and weak with a tight thoracic spine.
Stretching your thoracic spine is simple. Sit on a flat surface and cross one leg over the other placing your foot on the opposite side of the opposing knee. Turn at the waist towards the same side of the bent knee. Place your arm behind you to support your position and gently use your other arm to hold your knee and leg in place. Carefully stretch your back increasing the stretch each day.
Five – When we’re at work, we do a lot of sitting, but did you know sitting is tough on your body, especially on your glutes? When you’re sitting, the nerves that activate your glutes can shut down in a very short period of time. If you are a repetitive ‘sitter,’ the glute muscle begins the process of atrophy. This means that the glute muscle begins to degenerate (not in a good way). When your glutes shut down, other muscles and joints in your body become over-stressed and can result in pain in places such as the knees and lower back.
Six – The most effective way to combat this problem is to keep your glutes active. Getting up and stretching your glutes and hip flexors is a good first step to wake up these muscles. Whether you work out or not, stretching these tight muscles can reduce future injury and pain.
Seven – Everyone who takes my classes knows that I end every class at some point by stretching the pelvic bone. I always demonstrate its rotation by turning the pelvis in a 360* motion. It’s important to have good flexibility in your hips and pelvic area. It will serve you well as you age in all capacities:)