Being that stretching is just as important as exercise, it remains an underestimated element of your overall well-being. Your focus on pushing your body past its limits and giving it the nutrition it needs is admirable all on its own; however, improving your muscles elasticity creates more room for growth. Stretching before your workout isn’t the only way to get your daily stretch; even on days you plan to spend relaxing, there are breathing and stretching routines that get your blood naturally flowing and will ultimately help you reach a more relaxing state. Below are a few ways to incorporate stretches throughout your day.
Stretch in the morning
Why: Every night, we spend 6 to 8 hours (or more) in complete rest mode. While our nervous system recovers and regenerates brain cells, our muscles coil up. Although drinking your first cup of coffee feels exhilarating, you should always try to lengthen those tight muscles before reaching for your brewer.
Try: Sit up slowly then push both arms up as if you’re reaching for your ceiling. This will remove the tension that has built up on your upper body.
Stretch at work
Why: Sitting or standing in the same position while completing your daily tasks can put pressure on multiple parts of your body. Your muscles may not be necessarily tight but you are definitely placing weight on one area of your body, essentially creating a hazardous physical stress.
Try: Bend your knees a few times before moving around from the position you have been standing or sitting in. In a full standing stance, reach for your toes then slowly roll back up to release the tension on your back. Lift one foot a little higher than your other and wiggle your toes while you rotate your ankles to create a new circulation flow on your leg. Repeat on the other leg.
Stretch before and after workouts
Why: You’re about to use new range of motions and engage muscles more rigorously than you normally do. Avoiding injuries should be of high priority before beginning a workout, as well as an integrated cool down process . The experts at Streamline Vibration studio, a fitness center, recommend stretching “for better range of motion to lengthen, relax and clean muscle fibers”.
Try: Depending on your exercise routine, you should target the areas that will be exhausted the most. Rotating your joints is a good way to start. Reaching up, one arm at a time and holding a squat position for ten seconds will get most muscles running. DON’T over-stretch before your workout! Over stretching before your muscles are warm can lead strains.
Stretch before bed
Why: Your body is ready to rest and recover but some tissues and muscles have been pushed out of its natural position. We move around often throughout the day and it’s important to stretch before going to sleep. The stretch will allow your body parts to fall into a comfortable place and help you avoid waking up with a cringe.
Try: Rotate your neck in a circular motion a few times to release the tension built up. Lay flat on the floor with your back facing the ground. Your arms should reach out, away from your body but still parallel to the floor. Lift both legs up then move them from side to side, making sure to reach the floor completely before moving to the other side. Remember to breathe deeply, the oxygen flow will help you move toward a relaxed state.
Don’t forget to consult a physician or a trainer before trying any new stretches or exercises. Although these are simple tactics, you always want clearance from a professional to avoid experiencing pain.