Stretching our limbs
"I do some weights and I do a lot of stretching."
Stretching is one of those exercises that, unless you are an athlete, you might not pay too much attention to. However, keeping our bodies loose and limber by stretching is probably one of the most beneficial ways to maintain our physical health and prevent injuries. Stretching can also helps us with our mental health by reducing stress and anxiety. There are so many benefits to the simple routine of stretching.
I first learned about the importance of stretching when on was on the track team in high school. As a high jumper, I learned how loosening up my muscles and limbs would prevent me from being too tight or pulling something while approaching or jumping over the crossbar. Our head coach was adamant about everyone stretching, for at least 15 minutes before every practice. The entire team, including the "weight men" who competed in the shot put and discuss, was required to stretch. It kept me injury-free throughout high school and helped me obtain All-State honors in the high jump. I was quite limber in my teens!
Photo by Farsai Chaikulngamdee on Unsplash
Fast forward 25+ years and I am now remembering and understanding how important it is to stretch, especially for non-athletes and adults who are not very active in their daily lives. I have mentioned how I recently returned to a regular yoga practice to keep myself in shape, but more importantly, to help prevent my body from breaking down on me. I have found yoga benefits my mental, physical, Spiritual and emotional health. It helps keep me centered, focused, relaxed and in shape! Yoga, to me, is essentially stretching on steroids. I love how there are modified poses and routines for all levels of experience and flexibility.
We don't necessarily need to commit to a dedicated yoga routine to reap the benefits of stretching. We don't even have to get out of bed to get a few stretches in. Finding just five minutes in our day to stretch can help us prevent injuries and have us feeling more limber with an increased range of motion. The benefits far outweigh any time we invest in a regular stretching or yoga routine. I have felt the consequences of not stretching by straining my muscles. I realized it pays to stay committed to performing such a simple exercise. It does not need to be intense, but I learned the hard way that it needs to be consistent if we want to reap the benefits of stretching and yoga.
Healthline: Stretching: 9 Benefits, Plus Safety Tips and How to Start
Medical News Today: Daily stretching routines for beginners, runners, and more