As we get older, tasks that once came easily may become much more difficult or impossible to perform. We lose moisture in our tissue and experience increased stiffness in our joints, making muscle movement more difficult. However, you might never notice this stiffness when you stretch regularly.
But why is it so important that we stretch and maintain flexibility throughout our lives? Our team at Ogden Chiropractic wants you to understand why stretching is so important for your body and how it improves everyday life. If you want to learn more about the benefits of stretching and some tips for proper stretching, keep reading.
Why Stretching Is So Important
Maintaining comfortable mobility is essential for a happy, healthy life. While this mobility will look different from person to person, stretching is so important to incorporate into your everyday routine because it allows mobility to persist. Without it, you may notice more muscle stiffness and difficulty or discomfort doing tasks you previously had not struggled with. When you remember to stretch regularly, you soothe and calm your muscles, allowing them to move freely with your body.
The Benefits Of Stretching
Stretching is so important for many reasons, and regularly performing these activities comes with many benefits. The benefits associated with stretching include the following:
- Better Posture: Bad posture often happens so slowly that you don’t notice it. However, when you regularly hunch, your muscles become weaker. By stretching, you train these muscles to do their job again. As these muscles become stronger, you’ll notice your posture improving and a decrease in back pain.
- Improved Strength: Stretching prior to exercise is a great way to improve blood flow to your muscles. When your muscles are prepared for physical activity, you may perform better than before. It also reduces your risk of injury while performing these activities.
- Improved Sleep And Reduced Stress: These two benefits seem to work together. Many cite that performing activities like yoga settles the mind by requiring you to focus on how your body and muscles feel. As you stretch, especially in the hour before you go to sleep, you may even find your mind has settled enough to fall asleep more easily, and you’ll wake refreshed.
- Increase Balance: When you perform the same motions daily, your muscles become accustomed to only those movements. By regularly stretching, you improve the range of motion in joints and, in turn, improve your body’s ability to balance when performing unfamiliar tasks.
How To Stretch Properly
While stretching is incredibly important for maintaining health and comfort levels, performing this action improperly may lead to more problems than if you hadn’t stretched. To properly stretch, try to follow these tips:
- Do Not Bounce: Stretches are meant to be smooth movements. Bouncing as you stretch risks putting more tension on the muscle than it is prepared to handle. Avoid bouncing if you want to protect your muscles from unnecessary injury.
- Stretch Symmetrically: Whatever you do on one side, you also need to do on the other. You shouldn’t try to force muscles to do more than they can to match one side, and you should strive to match your stretches on each side to protect yourself from injuries.
- Maintain A Routine: If you’ve ever stretched regularly and then taken time off, you know how easily you lose your flexibility. Maintaining a routine is important if you want to reap the full benefits. You should strive to stretch at least three times a week for at least 5 to 10 minutes.
- Focus On Major Muscle Groups: You should focus a lot of your attention on the muscles in your body that experience the most regular use, including your calves, neck, shoulder, and lower back muscles. Focusing on these major muscle groups prepares your body for the movements you regularly perform.
- Hold Your Stretches: When you stretch, try to hold it for at least 30 seconds. If your muscles are especially tight, you may want to hold them for up to 60 seconds. You might not notice any major muscle improvements without enough resistance, as provided by holding the stretch.
Should It Hurt?
When you stretch, there is going to be some resistance and tension. However, this should not ever hurt. If the movement hurts, it likely means you are pushing the muscle further than it can comfortably move. Simply pull back slightly until you feel resistance without pain. This will protect your muscles from injury and make it a more pleasant experience.
Incorporating Stretching Into Your Chiropractic Care
Chiropractic care is a great way to improve your mental health, muscle strength, flexibility, and range of motion. In fact, if you receive chiropractic care, your chiropractor likely recommends stretching between appointments and may even help you learn how to stretch properly. Incorporating chiropractic care into your routine improves your ability to heal, and you may notice the benefits more quickly than if you just stretch on your own.
If you are seeking a chiropractor to see in conjunction with your stretching routine, Ogden Chiropractic is here to help. We can help you through stretches that may be more challenging or uncomfortable on your own and give you more complex stretches as your muscles become stronger. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how a chiropractor can help you improve your flexibility.