Whether you live an active lifestyle or not, there are many benefits of adding a few minutes to stretch before you start your day. Harvard Medical School stresses the importance of stretching by saying: “Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints. Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight. Then, when you call on the muscles for activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way. That puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.” They also advise seeing a physical therapist to assist you have any underlying conditions. Once you develop a routine that will truly aid your overall flexibility, muscle strength, and improve your overall balance.
A Kansas physical therapy office, Preferred Physical Therapy, shares more benefits of stretching. This includes: improved posture, prevents loss of range of motion, decreased back pain, and prevents muscle injury and soreness. Not only that but there are also mental health benefits to stretching as well. Marque Medical, an urgent care chain based in California, shares that stretching can lead to better mental clarity, better sleep, and increased energy.
There are nothing but positive reasons to stretch, so where can you start? There is always the recommendation of seeing a physical therapist; however, it can be a steep bill if your health insurance does not cover it.
How to Get Started
First and foremost, make sure that the area you are stretching on or around is clean and comfortable. Set up a space where you are able to lay down flat and be able to stretch out your arms and legs in all sorts of ways.
Healthline covers stretching and all of its aspects in this beginner’s guide to stretching. The article goes over myths and explains there are so many different ways to stretch our bodies. It also starts you off with three beginner friendly stretches which are: overhead stretch, cat and cow, and torso stretch. They provide a step-by-step guide to prevent injury!
If you are not the type of person to read and follow along with instructions, there are video options on YouTube. Doctor Jo is a great place to start since her page is dedicated to physical therapy and recovery from injuries. In this video, she goes over a full body stretch to help you feel comfortable and have your muscles warmed up in no time. With the video only being eighteen minutes, it is time management and busy schedule friendly. She offers a wide array of different stretches and pain relief!
As mentioned in a previous article, stretching can be incorporated into daily self care and stretching has been found to release endorphins. Hopefully seeing the benefits of stretching will be motivation for you to try it tomorrow!