Benefits - Why Stretching Matters
What are the benefits of stretching? Before we can answer this question
we need to understand what exactly we mean by
stretching. To me stretching is the process of placing a particular
body part into a position that will lengthen the muscles and the
associated soft tissues. This process should be natural and relaxing.
It should reinvigorate you and make you feel better. It should not be
painful or become a chore to do.
Stretching is Natural
In nature stretching is as natural as can be. All animals stretch. They
do this to by instinct. It is important for them as they must keep
their bodies in a constant state of alert. This is why they are
constantly tuning up the muscles they might use throughout the day.
Our bodies are no different from our animal friends. We evolved with
bodies that need work in the same way that a plant needs water. In the
not so distant past this wasn't a problem for people to get. Chopping,
tilling, planting and hunting all worked our bodies in a way that they
needed. In the modern world, however, with all of our labor saving
devices most of us do not get this kind of workout anymore. Without
these kinds of natural outlets our bodies tend to store tension. Our
muscles become weak and tight. We lose touch with our physical natures
and with life's energies.
Stretching is Beneficial
This is why stretching can be so beneficial to people. Stretching is
the link between the sedentary life and the active one. It keeps our
muscles supple and ready for movement. This is especially true if you
play any kind of sports. Sports are great and have many benefits.
However they can also really wear your body down. Regular stretching
can help alleviate this. Listed below are some other benefits of
- Anti - Aging - As we get older our muscles
joints get tighter and tighter. A program of regular stretching can
help alleviate this which keeps us young.
- Increased Range Of Movement - Injuries often
occur when we push a muscle or joint beyond its natural range of
motion. Stretching can help to increase this natural range, thereby
lowering the chance of injuries.
- Increased Power - Power is generated by the
distance and how powerfully muscles contract. As stretching can
increase the distance that the muscles contract power is increased.
- Reduce Post Exercise Muscle Soreness - When
exercise we often develop tiny micro tears in our muscle fibres. Blood
pools in these tears depositing waste products like lactic acid. This
is why our muscles ache after any kind of physical activity. Stretching
improves the circulation which helps to remove these waste products.
- Reduces Fatigue - Tight muscles are tiring
can result in decreased mental and physical performance. Stretching can
help with this.
Other stretching benefits include improved posture, co-ordination,
increased energy, circulation and stress relief.