Want to prevent slouching? Better start stretching!
That, of course, is not the only benefit that regular stretching delivers. As well as your posture, stretching helps your body and mind in a multitude of ways. Let’s explore a few of them, and get you started with your own stretching routine.
6 BENEFITS OF STRETCHING
1 – Stretch-ability leads to flexibility + mobility
Well-stretched muscles can reach their full range of motion with more ease and less chance of injury. Increasing your flexibility and mobility helps with everyday functional activities, such as reaching down to pick up a pen, picking up your pet, or carrying heavy shopping bags.
2 – Better balance
With increased range of motion in your joints comes better balance. Keeping your balance system healthy with consistent stretching will allow you to move freely and confidently, improving everything from your athletic performance to staying upright on a moving train without falling onto a stranger’s lap (we’ve all been there).
3 – Boosts your athletic power
From sprinting to jumping, studies show that stretching also improves performance in physical activities. For example, having your full range of motion to kick a football or serve in tennis is evidently more effective than restricted movements with stiff muscles.
4 – Releases stress
A good stretch series not only provides relief for tight, tired muscles, it also works on a deeper level. Breathing fully through each move (exhaling into deeper stretches) will relax your body and mind by putting your nervous system into a parasympathetic state.
5 – More blood flow to your muscles
Stretching is a simple way to increase blood flow, boost oxygen levels, deliver nutrients to muscles, and remove metabolic waste (looking at you: carbon dioxide, ammonia, and uric acid). If better circulation doesn’t make you want to limber up, nothing will.
6 – Reduces pain and injuries
Tight muscles can lead to strained muscles. Stretching helps heal and prevent back pain, tension headaches, musculoskeletal aches, DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), and so much more. Just ask a physiotherapist.
WHERE DO I START WITH STRETCHING?
With a body full of muscles, where do we begin? Start here, start today — this 6-stretch flow, at least 3 or 4 times per week can help you reap the rewards above.
THE EVO 5-STRETCH FLOW
- Lie facing up, with legs extended and arms out to the sides.
- Inhale & lift your left leg, placing your right hand on the outside of it just above your knee.
- Exhale as you bring the left leg across your body to the right.
- Inhale and release.
- Hold each position for 1-3 minutes per side, then switch sides and repeat.
2 – FLOOR BRIDGE
- Still lying face-up on your mat, bend your knees and plant your feet at hip-width.
- Engage your core and glutes then exhale as you lift your hips.
- Hold, then inhale and lower to start for one rep.
- Complete 1 set of 15 reps with 5-second holds.
- Kneeling on a mat, place one foot forward to create a 90-degree angle at the hip & knee. Place your hands on your front knee for support if needed.
- Keeping the torso upright, lean forward until you feel a stretch through the groin and top of the thigh on your rear leg.
- Move slowly back and forth 5-10 times, or maintain a hold for 30 seconds.
- Lie on the ground, stomach-down, with your hands flat beneath your shoulders and elbows tucked in by your sides.
- Gently raise your head & chest, keeping your hips and groin on the ground.
- Relax your neck and shoulders, holding for 15-20 seconds and when you’re ready, gently lower back down.
- Standing with your feet hip-width apart, clasp your hands above your head.
- Gently lean your body to one side, feeling a deep, juicy stretch along the side of your body.
- Hold for 10-15 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.