Guest author: Mary Johnson
It is very important to incorporate stretching into your daily routine. Whether you spend several hours working out at the gym or you work at a desk all day, it is important to spare a few minutes to stretch. Stretching at least once a day is very important because it helps release muscle tension. Even if you have been sitting at your desk all day and still feel like you are pressed for time, sparing a few minutes to stretch can make all the difference. A few minutes of stretching will increase blood flow through your body and invigorate you, helping you feel less sluggish. Here are some highly effective (and quick!) stretching sequences:
The Butterfly Stretch
There are many stretches that you can do to stretch your muscles. A great example is doing yoga poses that help stretch multiple muscle groups at once. One of the most vital body parts that needs stretching is the abs. The butterfly stretch is one of many great ways to stretch your abs.
Sit on the floor and put the soles of your feet together with your knees bent out to the sides. Hold on to your feet or ankles and slowly lower your body towards your feet. You can stay in this position for two minutes.
The Chest Opener
This sequence targets the chest and shoulders. Stand facing one corner of a room and press each palm into each wall. Ensure your arms are at your sides and your elbows are bent. You then lean forward and press your chest towards the wall. Do this until you feel a stretch in your chest.
The Side Bend Stretch
It targets the hips, inner thigh, obliques, and groin. Kneel on the floor then extend your right leg to the side keeping it perpendicular to your body. Now, extend your left arm over your head and rest your right arm on your right leg. Gently bend your left arm and torso to the right side.
The Knee to Chest Stretch
This one focuses on the lower back, hamstrings, and hips. Lie on your back with both legs extended. Then, pull your left knee towards your chest while your right leg remains straight and your lower back stays pressed on the floor. Now, switch legs.
This stretch targets the calves. Stand near a wall and place the toes of one foot on the base of the wall while the other foot remains straight. Lean towards the wall as you feel the stretch in your calf.
Long-Term Benefits of Stretching
Stretching is beneficial to both the body and mind. For starters, it improves flexibility: you become more flexible when you keep stretching your muscles. Stretching also helps improve posture and strengthen your muscles and strong muscles encourage proper alignment. You are less likely to slouch if you stretch more.
Stretching is also great for injury prevention. This is because stretching helps prepare your body for exercising movements. Stretching helps keep your muscles warm and stretched which makes movement become easier. Another important benefit of stretching is that it increases nutrient supply to the muscles by allowing blood to flow through your body. Nutrients are carried in the blood and stretching increases blood flow.
The mind also directly benefits from stretching. You become calmer when you stretch because stretching refreshes the flow of blood through your body. Stretching also releases tension because when you are tense or stressed, your muscles tighten. That’s why stretching is good for stress management. Finally, stretching helps increase energy. It allows proper blood and nutrient flow which increase energy levels.
Life can be overwhelming sometimes, but we should always try to squeeze in a few minutes a day to stretch and rejuvenate our bodies. It’s totally worth it because it has great health benefits.