Think of Stretching as a Reward

You may consider stretching just important for athletes or you may even consider it unimportant. Either way I hope to change your mind after you read this. For starters, stretching brings general-health benefits, meaning that even people who are not active should be stretching! This is because when we stretch, we increase blood flow, oxygen levels, and nutrient levels, which then go into our muscles. It additionally, helps reduce metabolic waste. In other words, people with diseases such as diabetes or mental health struggles like depression should include this on their daily-life activities. 

                  Let’s start with the benefits and then I will tell you how to do this properly:

  1. Improve blood flow & circulation: enhances nutrient transportation and oxygen transportation throughout your body
  2. Reduced pain & stiffness: reduces discomfort and pain. Both, the frequency and intensity of muscle cramps are reduced
  3. Higher range of motion:   this will enhance your performance, flexibility and quality life. Your joints will move more naturally and freely
  4. Better muscular functionality: did you know that we are constantly “stressing” our body? By our posture, our time sitting, our inadequate moving patterns, etc. Stretching will allow our bodies to efficiently respond to these stresses, hence giving the muscle the opportunity to fully perform all of its tasks
  5. Improved performance: you will gain power, strength, agility and speed
  6. Lower injury-risk: although not enough studies have presented this evidence conclusive, plenty of them do suggest stretching as an injury prevention method. Given that stiff+cold tendons and muscles have a higher likelihood of sprains, strains and/or ruptures. Which brings me to my next point.. 
  7. Decreased wear and tear of joints: AKA decreased over-use of them. In simple words, if a muscle is tight, and this becomes something chronic, the result will be a weakened-opposing muscle. To maintain a balanced support for muscles and joints, stretch both sides of a muscle. This will allow optimal movement and efficiency
  8. Decreased stress: our body responds to everything, specially stress. If we allow stress to become chronic, the way our body lets us know is by fatigue, tension and anxiety
  9. Better blood flow: both, better blood flow and circulation are the cause of higher oxygen and nutrient transportation throughout our bodies
  10. Better QUALITY of life: stretching improves our physiological and mental health, which in turns prolonged longevity 

As a result of ALL of these benefits, think of stretching as a reward! The feeling after a workout is amazing, it is also spectacular to see what our bodies (and minds) are capable of doing. Consider stretching a hug to yourself after being active and not sedentary!

My suggestions:

  1. Perform each stretch 3 times and hold it for 30 seconds. 
  2. Mix up your stretches, make it fun
  3. Stretch your entire body but focus more on the muscles your worked out the most that day
  4. Just as we should workout opposing muscles, stretch opposing muscles 

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