10 Reasons To Stretch It Out
Importance ofFlexibility Training
Flexibility trainingis an essential, yet often overlooked health-related component of fitness. Numerous studies support the short- and long-term benefits of various types ofstretching, including static stretching, dynamic stretching, and proprioceptive neuromuscularfacilitation (PNF), just to name afew. Here are 10 reasons why you should be stretching on a regular basis.
Chronic stress canproduce a number of undesirable responses in the body, including increasedfeelings of anxiety, fatigue and tension. Regularly stretching has been shownto reduce mental tension and, when combined with mindful breathing techniques,may also help to decrease anxiety and depression.
REDUCED PAIN ANDSTIFFNESS
Excessive musculartension can increase discomfort throughout the body. However, studies haveshown that regularly performing static stretching can help to decreasestiffness, reduce pain levels (especially in individuals with chronic neck orlow-back pain), and may even reduce the frequency and severity of musclecramps.
Regularly performingstretching exercises, such as PNF stretching, static stretching, and stretchesfrom mind-body disciplines such as yoga,can help to reduce blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rate, counteractingthe bodys physiological responses to stress and muscular tension.
ENHANCED RANGE OFMOTION
Various types of stretchingas well as other supportive self-care strategies, such as self-myofascialreleasing using a foam roller, can help to enhance unrestricted movement of themajor joints of the body, including key areas that are designed to be mobile,such as the hips and shoulders.
As a result of poorposture, repetitive movement patterns, improper body mechanics, and spendinglong periods of time seated, muscles in the body can become chronically tense,tight and contracted, causing them to become less strong and supple. Regular stretchingutilizing a variety of flexibility training techniques helps to improve overallfunction by ensuring that the body can more effectively respond to the stressesimposed by various types of movement and activity.
REDUCE RISK OF INJURY
Although the evidenceis far from definitive, there are some promising findings regarding the rolethat stretching may play in helping to reduce the risk for injury. Dynamicstretches are often used as part of a warm-up to help increase core bodytemperature and functionally prepare the body for the movements that are tocome. As a result, stretching is often considered an important part of injuryprevention, as cold muscles and tendons in the body have a greater likelihoodof rupture, strain or sprain.
When included as partof a well-rounded fitness routine, regular flexibility training, which includesdynamic stretching, can help enhance agility, power, speed and muscularstrength.
IMPROVED BLOOD FLOWAND CIRCULATION
Regular flexibilitytraining can help to improve blood flow and circulation, thereby allowing forthe enhanced transportation of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood throughout thebody.
MINIMIZED WEAR ANDTEAR ON JOINTS
When muscles becomechronically tight and tense, opposing muscles become weakened, producingunnecessary wear and tear on various joint and structures within the body.Regular stretching helps to ensure the muscles on each side of a joint maintainan equal degree of pull so that the joint is able to move freely andefficiently in all directions, allowing for optimal movement and less stress onthe body.
IMPROVED QUALITY OFLIFE
Physiological changes occuras we grow older, regularly stretching and performing range of motion exercisescan improve flexibility at any age, helping to increase longevity and enhance theoverall quality of life.