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HEALTH & FITNESS ARTICLES

Benefits of Stretching

The body is flexible. It is supposed to be flexible. You must be able to bend and reach that something you dropped on the floor. You must be able to zip up the back of your favorite dress on your own. You must be able to reach that book you need to read, way up there on the top shelf.

These are simple activities. Nothing special about them; you merely stretched out a bit. However, if you have difficulties doing simple everyday activities, then you have to stretch your limits - you need a stretching program.

What Is Stretching?

Stretching is simply the act of elongating or contracting groups of muscles, and straightening or bending a body's limbs to reach a good range of motion.

How Does a Person Stretch?

Stretching is fairly easy. As mentioned in the introduction, it is needed in the normal activities of everyday life. But it can also be done by almost anyone, regardless of age.

However, the extent of stretching and flexing differs. The muscles tighten as a person ages. The range of joint movements can be minimized the older a person gets. That is why as a person grows older, bending or flexing becomes more difficult. But this is also why stretching regularly, as part of a daily routine, is very important. It can be incorporated into daily activities, and it does not require much of your time.

Stretching exercises can also be done while training. Stretching is an essential part of any training or sport. It is recommended to warm up lightly, for about 5 minutes, before stretching. 

There is actually an ideal length of time for stretching. About 10 minutes will give the body enough opportunity to move and flex the muscles, thus preparing it for more complicated and strenuous movements.  Stretching for 30 minutes or more will actually wear out the body, becoming a workout in itself. This is not recommended if one is preparing for a game or workout.

What Are the Benefits of Stretching?

1. Increased Range of Movement
The length of muscles and tendons is increased by regular stretching exercises. This will assist in increasing the range of movement. If limbs and joints are able to move, it will be more comfortable to do daily activities, as well as exercise.

2. Increased Ability to Perform Skills
When you have a wider range of motion, you will simply be able to do more things. For example, you can jump without feeling much pain when you land back on the floor. This will also help you start a new sport or to improve if you are already in one. Stretching will simply allow you to have a more active lifestyle, and will make you feel more confident in your body.

3. Injury Prevention
One can prevent injury to joints, tendons and muscles with regular stretching. When the muscles and tendons are well-flexed, they are considered in good working order. If you exercise, this will result in faster recovery times and decreased soreness after working out. If they are flexible, the muscles of the body will be able to take more rigorous movements with less probability of being injured.

4. Reduced Muscle Tension
If the muscles are given their regular exercises and stretching, it is less likely that they will contract. This will really reduce muscle pain or problems. Also, many people are now sitting at desks for 8-10 hours each day.  Our bodies are simply not designed for sitting in one place for that long.  Stretching will help to ease tension built up by hunching over a computer and desk all day, every day.

5. Enhanced Energy
Being able to move more will also give you more energy. Stretching will help enhance your awareness.  Knowing that you have a body that is capable of doing many things will make you more driven to move rather than to sit on the couch.  

6. Reduced Cholesterol
Research also shows that doing prolonged stretching exercises, like yoga, will help reduce the cholesterol in the body when following a healthy diet. This could prevent and even reverse hardening of the arteries, allowing you to reduce your chance of developing coronary diseases.

Incorporate stretching in your everyday lifestyle. The benefits are undeniable.  It also does not require much time or energy.  Your health is everything, so do what it takes to keep your body healthy.


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