For health and fitness specialists the benefits of being flexible are a no brainer, but for those of us who work for a living stretching isn’t usually a priority. So here’s a big fat bunch of reasons why staying limber is the way of the future, and why setting aside 15 minutes a day for stretching is the smart thing to do.
The ones you (probably) know:
- Being bendy reduces the risk of injury. It keeps the muscles and tendons pliable when practicing vigorous movement, thus avoiding tears, strains and sprains.
- It increases blood flow to soft tissue, getting nutrients into your muscles quickly and efficiently.
- It shortens recovery time after training or intense physical activity. Increased blood flow and toxin release through stretching the recovery time can be reduced significantly.
The ones you don’t know:
- Range of motion: if you’re wondering why you struggle to turn fluidly from the hips when surfing, or why your shoulders and neck begin to ache after a surf then it probably has something to do with poor range of motion. Which can often be mistaken for poor joint form. At least that’s what we tell ourselves. Lucky for you, regular stretching will improve with persistence.
- Swift muscle retraction: Also considered muscle contraction. Similar to an elastic band stretched tight we want our muscles to spring back on cue. If the muscles and tendons are too tight they are more likely to snap instead of perform the way we want.
- Improved posture: Tight Hip Flexors, tight Chest and tight Shoulders all contribute to bad posture. Giving your hips an anterior tilt, closing the chest and rounding the shoulders. Boom! This is the best way to give yourself back aches for a life time.
- It relaxes the mind: Taking the time out to stretch or practice a stretching technique like Yoga gives you time to wind down after any vigorous activity. It calms the mind which aids in recovery as much as physically relaxing.