Pick up any fitness magazine and you’ll read recipes to improve your diet and give you energy, tips for burning more calories per hour when you perform cardio or photos demonstrating proper form for weight lifting.
When reading about fitness, stretches are often an afterthought. Instead of stretching as compulsory exercise when you warm down from other activities, consider the many ways it can physically benefit you:
Stretching Prevents Creaking Joints
Stretching and holding poses for at least 30 seconds helps bring nourishing oxygen into your muscles and also distributes synovial fluid around our joints – this fluid helps provide ease of movement and a greater range of motion by keeping the cartilage lubricated around your joints. The more you stretch, the fewer pains you will have. Joints stiffen from lack of use, if you’ve ever had a limb immobilized from a cast and then tried to move around after it was removed, you know that lack of use causes atrophy. As we age, we assume that we naturally feel more “stiff,” but the more you move and stretch the more flexible you can remain.
Stretching Addresses the Whole Body
If you suffer from a sore neck, don’t just focus on neck stretches to help you feel better. Most often misalignment occurs at multiple points in the body, and while a symptom may appear in one place it can be indicative of issues throughout the body. Uses 10 minutes of stretching a day to get everything moving. If your hips are tight, don’t neglect stretching your lower back and glutes; if your feet have been killing you, work on stretching your calves and hamstrings as well. Stretching your entire body can help work out pain in specific areas as well as help all the components of your body work better together.
Manage Stress with a Stretch
Stress is not simply a state of mind but a physical manifestation. Stress can creep into our muscles, pull our body out of misalignment, shorten our breath and weaken our immune system. Spending 10 minutes stretching before bed can help you to quiet your mind, deepen your breath and help work out the tense places in your body after a long day. Stretching has been shown to reduce blood pressure and help you sleep better, in addition to increasing circulation and blood flow to all parts of the body which helps improve your immune system and reduce cortisol levels (the hormone associated with stress).
Stretching on its own can help provide many benefits to helping you feel better on a daily basis and when combined with a regular program of inversion with a Teeter, can help you feeling younger, more energized and healthier.Sources: http://www.naturalnews.com/026118_yoga_stretching_lymphatic_system.html http://www.spine-health.com/wellness/exercise/stretching-back-pain-relief http://www.wellness.com/workplace/manage-your-stress-at-work-by-stretching Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lululemonathletica/4535734153/in/photostream/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/lululemonathletica/4536389508/in/photostream/