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4 big benefits of stretching

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Obviously, stretching increases flexibility, but so what?

First, flexibility can increase "stability, balance, and ease of movement," as Michelle Matte at Livestrong.com describes, which reduces risk of injury, not just in athletic activities, but in everyday life.

Stretching also encourages the production of lubricants in our joints, as AZ Central's Andrea Cespedes tells us. This, combined with the relief of tension around your joints earned by stretching, can ease arthritis and other joint pain.

After sitting at a desk or behind a steering wheel for hours and hours on end, your posture can start to go. Stretching out your back, neck and chest will not only help improve posture, but work towards alleviating the lower back pain and neck tension caused by long-term slouching.

Speaking of long days working and commuting, stretching is a great stress reliever. When combined with deep breathing (as used in yoga) stretching can help you calm down and ease your mind, while loosening all the areas where you hold tension. Cespedes also explains that various stretches can even aid in hormonal balance, digestion, and blood pressure, which can all be associated with stress.

In short, if stretching is not a part of your routine, it should be.

For more on stretching and fitness, including some coming-soon videos, click the "subscribe" button above.

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