Stretching is Good for You… THIS MUCH!

Happy Wellness Wednesday!

Wellness Wednesday emails are designed to provide you with simple tools, information, and resources to encourage positive and healthy lifestyle choices. As a proud recipient of The Healthy Arizona Worksite Award, The Be Kind People Project is committed to the health and wellness of their employees, friends, and family.

Lean into the Benefits of Stretching

Think back to your middle school P.E. days, you know, the matching basketball shorts and unnamable stench… Stretching indicated the beginning of class and enabled you to mentally prep yourself for the upcoming dodgeball game. However, stretching shouldn’t be a task left in middle school. There are many benefits to regularly stretching! Increased flexibility, improved posture, reduced stress and body aches, and much more!

This week, we will lean into the benefits of stretching and how to tie it into your daily routine.

Benefits of Stretching

Stretching is more than being able to touch your toes. Regular stretching improves your overall health and fitness in many ways, which can lead to these benefits:

  • Improved performance in physical activities – Remember the middle school analogy? Well, performing dynamic stretches before physical activities has been shown to prepare your muscles and improve performance in an athletic event or exercise.
  • Increase range of motion – The ability to move a joint through its full range of motion provides more freedom of movement. One study found that both static and dynamic stretching is effective in increasing the range of motion.
  • Improve posture – Muscle imbalances are common and can lead to poor posture. One study found that the combination of strengthening and stretching specific muscle groups can reduce musculoskeletal pain and encourage proper alignment.
  • Calms your mind – During your stretches, try focusing on mindfulness and meditation exercises to give yourself a mental break.

Ready, Set, Start a Stretching Routine!

If stretching is not part of your routine, take it slow! Like other forms of physical activity, your body needs time to get used to the new stretches you’re performing. You can squeeze in a nice stretch at any time during the day!

On days you exercise, aim for 5-10 minutes of dynamic stretching before your activity and another 5-10 minutes of static or PNF stretching after the workout.

For rest days, schedule at least 5-10 minutes for stretching to improve flexibility and reduce muscle tightness and pain.

The Final Stretch

Whether you’re new to exercise or a seasoned athlete, you can benefit from a regular stretching routine. When stretching, focus on the areas of your body that help with mobility: calves, hamstrings, hip flexors, and quadriceps.

For upper-body relief, try moves that stretch shoulders, neck, and lower back. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and avoid bounding. Just a quick 5-10 minutes of stretching each day can increase your range of motion, improve your posture and ease your mind. Give it a try!

Wellness Wednesday Challenge!

  • Tag us in a picture of your favorite stretch – bonus points if you include a friend or family member!
  • Share your morning stretch routine with us!

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Published on April 14th, 2021

By: Ashley McCarty, School Wellness Programs & Events Intern

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