Flexibility training is an essential, yet often overlooked health-related component of good spinal function and overall fitness. Numerous studies support the short- and long-term benefits of various types of stretching, here are 5 reasons why you should be stretching on a regular basis.
1. Reduced pain and stiffness
Excessive muscular tension can increase discomfort throughout the body. However, studies have shown that regularly performing static stretching can help to decrease stiffness, reduce pain levels (especially in individuals with chronic neck or low-back pain), and may even reduce the frequency and severity of muscle cramps.
2. Decreased stress
Chronic stress can produce a number of undesirable responses in the body, including increased feelings of anxiety, fatigue and tension. Regularly stretching has been shown to reduce mental tension and, when combined with mindful breathing techniques, may also help to decrease anxiety and depression.
3. Enhanced movement & function
Stretching can help to enhance full movement of the major joints of the body, including key areas that are designed to be mobile, such as the hips and shoulders. Stretching can also help unwind unhelpful tension patterns in chronically contracted muscles that develop as a result of poor posture, repetitive movements and spending long periods of time sitting.
4. Improved overall health
Regularly performing stretching exercises, can help to reduce blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and improve oxygen flow throughout the body. This is counteracting the body’s physiological responses to stress and muscular tension.
Stretching can also help enhance agility, power, speed and muscular strength.
5. Reduce risk of injury & minimise wear and tear on joints
Stretching is often considered an important part of injury prevention, as tight muscles and tendons in the body have a greater likelihood of rupture, strain or sprain.
When muscles become chronically tight and tense, opposing muscles become weakened, producing unbalanced joints and unnecessary wear and tear on various joint and structures within the body. Regular stretching helps to ensure the muscles on each side of a joint maintain an equal degree of pull so that the joint is able to move freely and efficiently in all directions, allowing for optimal movement and less stress on the body.
What is a good daily stretching routine?
- Straighten Up New Zealand is a simple daily stretching routine that promotes good posture for better health. There is a version for adults and one for kids too! Click on the link and print out the relevant sheet for you.
- At Chiropractic Balance we start most patients on a simple set of spinal stretches. Check them out and get your Chiropractor to assess if they are appropriate for you.
- Regular Yoga practice
- Online: There are lots of great classes online, some for free and some that you pay for. I have used www.yogaglo.com for about 5 years and totally recommend it. There are 3500 different classes of all styles and length. Also they have a 15 day free trial, then it’s US$18 per month with no contracts.
- Local class: We are very fortunate to have plenty of fantastic local teachers
To get you the best results from your Chiropractic treatment, we regularly recommend daily stretching. Whether you can commit one-minute or one-hour, over time if you can be consistent you will very likely see and feel improvements in your overall health, spinal function and posture.