Babies stretch naturally and frequently through the day but adults tend to designate stretching to a regime leaving them feeling tight, tense and uncomfortable most of the time. Our muscles and tendons are elastic-like and need regular lengthening and strengthening to be healthy.

Stretching doesn’t take a lot of time to reap the benefits, just a few minutes a few times a day and your muscles will thank you. Hold each stretch for a count of 5 and do each stretch three times.

Myth Busters:

Long slow stretches before sport will improve your performance.

Not so, science has shown that your muscles will become less reactive and more relaxed after stretching so deep stretches are not recommended BEFORE sport performance. Use light movement to warm up.

Effective stretching should be done one muscle at a time with a long hold.

Not so, if you are involved with lots of daily activities that require full movement and different postures and positioning, you will get your stretching done naturally and often with less pain and good benefit.

Benefits of Stretching

  • Improved Flexibility. This keeps our joints moving freely and helps us maintain the ability to perform usual reaching and bending activities as well as sports and hobbies.
  • Better Performance. Dynamic or light stretching movements help us to warm up before activity or sports. If we are going to play basketball in the driveway, some light jumps and lunges before hand will improve our speed and power in the game.
  • Improved Circulation. Regular stretching has been linked with better blood flow to muscles and reduced recovery time after injury.
  • Aligned Posture. Stretching warm muscles after activity or a hot shower help us maintain a stand-tall posture and avoids that crouched over look.
  • Reduced Headaches. The muscles in our necks, shoulders and spines are very susceptible to tension and cramping which can lead to headaches. Stretch out your neck and shoulders frequently through the day.
Watch a Physical Therapist take you through a stretching routine.

Stretch Tips to Do at Home

Lying Position – Curl into a Ball, Stretch out like a Starfish. This both stretches and activates muscles and is great before getting out of bed or relaxing before going to sleep.

Sitting Position- Clasp your hands together, reach behind your head, then to the ceiling, bend forward and stretch towards your knees and then your toes. Do this 3 times every 30 mintes when you are sitting at the computer or desk for long periods.

Standing position – If you are a Yogi, Warrior 1, 2 and 3 will get to all your muscles. If not, think about your front, back, right and left sides. Now reach your arms over your head and stretch forwards, backwards and right and left sides. Finish off with going up on your toes and then back on your heels.

Photo by Form on Unsplash

Favourite Daily Stretch Activities

  • Crouch down and reach into a back cupboard
  • Twist and shout while you dance
  • Grab that last roll of toilet paper off the top shelf of the closet
  • Make dusting a stretch class, reach and sweep.
  • Reach down to tie your shoes from standing
  • Downward dogs to Garage Clean-ups!

Resources

https://www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-stretching

https://www.verywellfit.com/relaxing-total-body-stretches-1231150

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