Regular stretches help to stimulate your muscles and get the blood flowing faster from head to toe helping you feel more awake and loose. If done regularly, stretching can also:
1) Improve your circulation: Stretching increases blood flow which helps to better deliver nutrients to muscles and cartilage. This improved flow also contributes to reduced muscle soreness.
2) Improve flexibility: As you age, muscles slowly become shorter and tighter and flexibility is limited more and more. Reduced flexibility makes people more susceptible to injuries such as muscle tears and joint and tendon injuries. Improved flexibility through stretching helps to reduce the risk of injury.
3) Increase range of motion: Regular stretching improves balance as well as increases your reach and movement abilities. This is especially important as it helps to counteract the natural limits of aging.
4) Reduce Stress: Stress increases tension in the muscles which can have negative effects on nearly every system in the body. Stretching helps to ease the tension from muscles and reduce the harmful effects of stress. Also, while stress produces additional cortisol, stretching and other exercises produce endorphins a natural chemical to balance the effects of the cortisol and decrease the feelings and negative effects of stress.
5) Strengthen muscles: While you won’t see ‘beach muscles’ develop by stretching alone, stretches done on a regular basis, particularly in the core muscles will help to build these muscles and improve overall posture and balance.
6) Improve your posture: Good posture can help to improve the overall functions of the body as well as visually, make you look taller and leaner. Good posture helps to eliminate stress on your joints, helps you breathe better as there is less compression on the diaphragm, relaxes muscles, engages your abdominal muscles and overall gives you the appearance of someone who is more confident and carefree.
7) Alleviate muscle pain: Muscle pain, particularly in the back, neck and shoulders is exasperated by poor posture. The strain of being off balance continues to aggravate pain in these areas. As you continue to stretch and increase your balance, posture and muscle tone, you can also see a great reduction or elimination of back, neck and shoulder pain.
Above all, stretching feels good! So for this and the seven reasons above, find a few minutes each day to add regular and wildly beneficial stretches!