Stretching has a plethora of benefits, such as increasing flexibility. Stretching is good for your joints, promotes better posture, relieves stress, and can prevent injury. Of the many things we do throughout the day, attempting any task with supple muscles is best.
Regular stretching as a daily practice lengthens muscles. Increasing circulation is another wonderful benefit. No matter what your age, you can stretch. Think of stretching as a way to be kind to your muscles for all they do for you. Aside from the obvious physical benefits of stretching before and after a vigorous workout, there is a spiritual side to stretching that cannot be ignored. Stretching centers us. We feel a higher sense of well-being afterwards. Whether through yoga, or our own particular way of stretching, we can open ourselves us to a soothing brought about by the increased circulation stretching brings. Poor circulation can result in lack of oxygen and nutrients.
Flexibility in the hips, hamstrings, and pelvic muscles helps lengthen muscles to remove stress from your spine that causes muscle tension and lower back pain. Research also shows that doing prolonged stretching exercises, like yoga, will help reduce the cholesterol in the body. This of course must be done with a healthy diet at hand. This could prevent and even reverse the hardening of the arteries, allowing you to avoid coronary diseases.
Chronically tense and tight muscles contribute to poor posture, which in turn can affect the functioning of our internal organs. This tension throughout our bodies is usually stress-related. There have been reports of great improvement and sometimes complete healing from arthritis, multiple sclerosis, headaches, back/neck/shoulder pain, bursitis, depression, fatigue, and even conditions like fibromyalgia.
Stretching guidelines include: Stretch the muscle to the point of its greatest range of motion, but do not overextend. You should feel very minimal tightness/discomfort (but not pain). Hold and control the stretch for at least thirty seconds (and maximum sixty seconds). Stretch all the major leg muscle groups (e.g., calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, groin, hip flexors). Stretch uniformly (after stretching one leg, stretch the other). Don’t overstretch an injured area, as this may cause additional damage.
I personally stretch before and after a work out. It calms me down and just feels so good. Move your body; ready, set, stretch!