Before we get into today’s post, I just want to introduce all to the lovely Vaida who runs a blog over at Don’t Tell Anyone. Vaida has recently joined the LFB team and will be guest posting on LFB, mainly contributing to the conscious beauty and health section of LFB from now on, which I am extremely excited about. Today, Vaida is here to talk to us all about the importance of stretching:
Why it’s so important to stretch out?
We all know why it’s important to keep up with the active lifestyle and what good it does for both: our body and soul! It doesn’t really matter what kind of activity you choose, either it’s fitness, swimming, dancing, cycling, rollerskating, – as long as you keep moving daily — you’re more than just fine! But have you ever wondered why it’s so important to stretch out? Why many fitness mentors as well as personal trainers and health advisers mention stretching that often and requires you to pay more attention?
Just as working out so does the stretching might seem to be not for everyone at first, but being honest – I get all shaky when I hear people saying that fitness isn’t for them. I mean, seriously? People are meant to be active. The matter of fact, fitness is for everyone, or more specifically – an active lifestyle! We are meant to walk, run, do lots of various activities and sports, and we are the only living species so versatile when it comes to movement. So stretching is for everyone also! Actually – it’s a must. Either you exercise daily, weekly or not, as long as you do work and live your live in many different static positions – not stretching out can cause lots of health issues and be one of the reasons for those. If not today, then tomorrow…
But let’s focus on the positive! Here are the few reasons why stretching it’s so important:
1. Good Posture, Better Blood Flow, and Confidence
It’s easy to forget to stretch. It’s often overlooked because the results are not as visible as lifting weights and squatting—or so you thought. Stretching can lead to better posture, fewer aches and pains, greater confidence, and a cheerier outlook on life.
That’s because stretching increases your blood flow and circulation for a healthier body and sends oxygen to your brain for a clearer mind and sunnier moods.
2. Great for Glutes
When we’re at work, we do a lot of sitting, but did you know sitting is tough on your body, especially on your glutes? When you’re sitting, the nerves that activate your glutes can shut down in a very short period of time.
If you are a repetitive ‘sitter,’ the glute muscle begins the process of atrophy. This means that the glute muscle begins to degenerate (not in a good way). When your glutes shut down, other muscles and joints in your body become over-stressed and can result in pain in places such as the knees and lower back. The most effective way to combat this problem is to keep your glutes active. Getting up and stretching your glutes and hip flexors is a good first step to wake up these muscles. Whether you work out or not, stretching these tight muscles can reduce future injury and pain.
3. Terrific for your thoracic spine
Your thoracic spine, which is located in the middle of your back, is very important to stretch and keep moving. Simple rotational stretches throughout the day are extremely important if you drive, sit, or just stay in one place for a few hours of the day.
4. Better balance
Daily use of muscles can cause them to get tight, especially if you regularly carry a backpack or bag. The heavier the bag, the more your body can tighten up on one side. Stretching can alleviate muscle tightness and bring your body back to feeling better balanced.
5. Workout wonders
And obviously, if you are working out regularly, stretching can do your body wonders. After exercising, your muscles may feel tight. During weight training, your muscle length shortens; this can leave you feeling tight and sore. Directly after your workout, you should stretch the muscles that you just trained to feel less tense, as well as before the workout session – a short stretching can also work as a warm up!
Don’t forget to stretch smart!
To reap the benefits of stretching, you have to do it the right way. Hold the stretch at the first sensation of resistance, then breathe your way through it. Imagine and feel the muscle tissue becoming more supple.
Modify, adapt, and adjust the stretch to suit your particular needs. Use padding under your knees for example, or try the same stretch sitting down, lying down, or standing up if it’s more comfortable for you.
Instead of thinking, “I’m so tight!” or “Stretching is agony,” replace your ‘mental soundtrack’ with “This is just what my body needs” and “I’m getting more flexible each time I stretch.”
In this post I’ve also included few stretching exercises which you can do daily! These are very important if you’re working in static positions, or spending lots of time at the desk!
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Stay conscious, Rae