5 Reasons You Need to Stretch
Flexibility has a major impact on how you feel in your body. “I love feeling stiff and tight,” said no one ever! But for a lot of people, stretching is often the last thing on their radar, if it’s part of their exercise routine at all. Why is that?
What I find over and over again is that people de-prioritize stretching because they see no point in going through the motions. This is because, well, they feel as though they are just going through the motions without achieving the kind of results they see when they do other types of workouts. Or, they sometimes assume they were born inflexible or have “lost it.” In fact, though, that is not the case at all. What is more likely true is that they have never actually learned how to stretch properly and that’s why flexibility does not improve – or declines with time.
Just as we learn about proper form in weightlifting or running (or any other type of exercise), putting technique behind how you stretch can – and does – make all the difference.
Typically, you’ll hear about the benefits of stretching as they relate to injury prevention, circulation and range of motion. But we have 5 more reasons why stretching is an essential part of every fitness strategy whether you're a yogi, runner, dancer, boxer, gym rat, or you like to do it all!
1. Freedom – There is nothing quite like feeling free in your body. Being tight is awful. Not only does it hurt, but it also limits your ability to move, which takes the fun out of doing the things you love doing most. A good stretch can fix that!
2. Anti-aging – Not only do muscles get flabby and weak with age if they do not get enough exercise, but they also become tighter and tighter over time. The good news is that the stiffening effects of time can be avoided as long as you continue to stretch. And more good news…you can also improve your flexibility at any age.
3. Balance – The healthiest bodies have a balance of stretch and strength. It is a vital yin-yang relationship. And, it’s this balance that I believe has the most significant impact on injury prevention. It’s not so much about having a tight or weak muscle that “breaks” but rather, it’s about the positive relationship between a strong and flexible muscle that protects you from injury and supports the overall fitness of your body as a whole.
4. Better Sex – If you do it right, stretching can add a whole host of fringe benefits to your sex life, because stretching properly is all about how you move, and control, your pelvis. Consider your pelvis Command Central. The rest of your body takes its queues from there.
5. Mood Booster – Tight muscles can bear down on you and cause stress. That stress can affect you emotionally and physically too. When you stretch, you release, and in that release, you connect with your body, clear your mind and purge negative energy. It’s such a wonderful, relaxing, feel-good thing to do!
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