Stretching, in its most basic form, is a natural and instinctive activity. People often stretch instinctively after waking from sleep or after long periods of inactivity.
As a form of exercise, stretching involves elongating a specific muscle or muscle group to its fullest length.
Here are the top five benefits of stretching:
1. Increases flexibility.
Flexibility is the degree to which an individual muscle will lengthen. Lack of flexibility causes your movement to become slower and less fluid and makes you more susceptible to muscle strains, ligament sprains and other soft tissue injuries. The most effective way to increase your flexibility is by stretching.
2. Improves circulation.
Stretching increases blood flow to the muscles. This increased blood flow brings more nourishment to the muscles and removes more waste byproducts from the muscles. Increased blood flow can also help speed up recovery from muscle and joint injuries.
3. Improves balance and coordination.
The increased flexibility that comes from stretching improves balance and coordination. Improved balance and coordination lowers your risk for falls.
4. Helps alleviate lower back pain.
Stiff and tight muscles in the lower back, hamstrings, hips and buttocks is one of the more common causes of lower back pain. Stretching these muscles will alleviate the pain.
5. Helps improve cardiovascular health.
Recent studies have found that stretching can improve artery function and lower blood pressure.
In conclusion, don’t overlook the benefits of stretching. Make sure that stretching is a regular part of your fitness program.