The Benefits of Stretching

While the idea of stretching prior to working out has changed in recent years, there are many benefits of stretching that all of us can enjoy in our daily life.

If you’re doing any kind of exercise then you should be incorporating the proper stretches into your routine.  But stretching isn’t exclusive to exercise and even those who don’t work out at all can enjoy the benefits of stretching.  Particularly if you’re advancing in age, spend a lot of time sitting at a desk, or have a highly physical job, stretching should be a part of your daily routine.

Recently new studies have been released regarding stretching prior to working out that say it can actually be more dangerous than helpful.  This new research deals primarily with static stretching, which is when the limbs are extended and held for periods of time.  The new information shows that it loosens muscles and tendons too much, making them less powerful and more prone to injury.  Rather than static stretching, researchers suggest that people should warm up by doing the same kinds of motions that will be used in their workout, like jogging in place or jumping jacks.  There is a great deal of information available about the down side to stretching and anyone would be wise to do some research and consult with their physician before starting a fitness program.

But let’s set aside for a moment the idea of stretching and exercise and focus on the benefits of stretching in general.  As we age our muscles tighten and our range of motion is limited.  And if you have to sit at a desk for extended periods of time, you definitely know the effects on your body.  Here are a few important benefits of stretching that we all can enjoy.

  • Increased circulation
  • Increased flexibility
  • Improved balance and coordination
  • Reduced lower back pain
  • Improved cardiovascular health

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