So it’s the last few minutes of a tough workout and stretching is probably not on your top list of things you want to do. Showering, your protein shake, and lying down on your bed are more likely to top this list. However, your body will thank you immensely if you take a few minutes to stretch it all out after each of your workouts.
Your muscle fibers do not get longer when you stretch, this is a myth. So how does stretching improve flexibility? Whether you are doing a full body stretch after a workout or a yoga routine that focuses solely on stretching, your nervous system will be trained to handle deeper stretches each time. Your brain adapts to tolerate these stretch movements and as a result, your muscles can extend further and you can bend more freely. Yes, a huge part of being flexible is psychological!
Poor posture is something most of us suffer with nowadays. We are at our desks all day, everyday and it’s hard to constantly remind ourselves to not slouch. Working your back muscle joints through their full range of motion and stretching out your tight back muscles helps keep a healthy posture and avoid a forward head posture.
When you stretch there is increased blood and nutrient supply to your muscles. This means your muscles can recover faster and more efficiently post workout, ultimately resulting in reduced muscle soreness and better exercise performance.
Stretching is a great way of taking a mental break. Instead of focusing on sending that email or finishing that assignment, you are using all your brain power to maintain the stretch pose and not topple over. While stretching you’re allowing for better blood flow and circulation throughout your body, including your brain. This releases tension and results in a calmer and more peaceful mindset.
Last but not least, find out what stretches work for you specifically and complement your workout routine. Also, make sure you are using proper technique to avoid any injury. We all have different muscles that are particularly tight and need a little pampering, so focus on those. We promise your body and mind will thank you once you are done stretching