We begin each morning with energy, eager to tackle the day ahead. However, as we engage in our work, this initial burst of enthusiasm begins to fade.
Soon, our positive outlook turns into one filled with stress or worry. While stretching may not help us immediately, it does provide us with an opportunity to reset ourselves before embarking on our next task.
When we start feeling stressed out, we can notice that there is tension in our bodies. Stretches help us relax when we’re under pressure.
Most of us think we need to stretch only if we’re an athlete or gymnast. However, the truth is, it’s important for everyone.
It isn’t just about keeping the muscle strong or improving our flexibility; it also improves our mental health.
When working under pressure, it’s important to stretch before going into overtime. A little bit of stretching helps you relax and relieve tension.
Let’s look at some facts about stretching and its effects on our minds.
Why Do We Stretch?
Being sedentary for long periods due to a lack of physical activity causes people to put on extra pounds and increase their risk of developing other health issues.
When you sit down to work, your body starts to get tense. Your shoulders start to hunch forward, and your neck begins to roll backwards.
You may find yourself slouching in your seat, leaning forward, or bending over to see what you’re typing.
These positions put stress on your spine, and cause your lower back to ache. Stretches help relieve these muscle spasms and tension. Try doing them every day to keep your back strong and flexible.
Stretching makes our muscle tissues flexible, healthy, and relaxes them. By doing so, we can be able to use our body effectively when we exercise.
Regular stretching helps people relax physically and mentally.
Aside from physical health, stretching also helps improve our mental health. We’ve known for quite some time now that our body and mind are closely connected.
However, we need to understand this relationship better to fully benefit from it.
Endorphins are released when we exercise. These endorphins trigger the brain receptors that produce positive emotions and relieve pain.
Endorphins are hormones produced by our body during exercise. They help us feel happier and more relaxed.
We can compare this feeling of happiness with the way we feel when we meet someone new, spend some time with family members, and so on.
Types of Stretching
If you want to get started with a safe stretch program, it’s best to first learn the basic stretches.
There are mainly three kinds of routines with different kinds benefits.
- Static: Stretches are an excellent way to relieve tension in your muscles after a workout. They’re also great if you just feel stiff or tight. You can do them anywhere—at home, work, or even during your commute. Just make sure you warm up before doing any stretches so you won’t get injured.
1 – Passive: Here the person lies down without any movement or exercise.
2 – Active: Here the person actively stretches his/her muscles by using their own body weight.
- Dynamic: Dynamic stretches warm us up by moving our bodies in different ways. For instance, when we stretch our arms, we may jump or run in one spot.
- Pre-contraction: Another type of stretch called proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretches muscles by using both contraction and relaxation. It’s one of the best ways to increase your range of movement and overall mobility.
How Stretches Improve Our Mental Health?
Stretching is good for both your body and mind.
Most of us don’t realize that stretching has an effect on our mental well-being.
Stretching can improve our physical health by helping us increase our blood flow, boost our mood, improve the overall condition of our skin, and help us get better-rested at night.
Here are some more reasons why stretching can be beneficial for managing stress and enhancing your mental health:
- Stretching helps relieve tension and ease muscle stiffness. By releasing tension, stretching can improve your mood and reduce your chances of developing certain health conditions such as migraines, hypertension, and insomnia. Furthermore, when you’re feeling anxious or depressed, try taking a yoga class or doing some deep breathing exercises that focus on relaxing your entire body.
- It boosts our overall health by regulating our metabolic rate, boosting our energies, and making us feel better. A good exercise routine improves blood flow and circulation throughout the entire system, which makes us feel energized and happy afterwards.
- Stretches increase inner balance: One of its most powerful benefits is inner balance. It’s scientifically proven that stretches release feel good hormones which can lift our spirits and calm our minds. Slow stretch movements and controlled breathing act as meditative exercises and can actually calm the brain.
- Improves posture: Poor posture can cause injury and discomfort. It can also impact your overall health by causing tight muscles and stiff joints. Remote work and office jobs are increasing the number of people who spend hours sitting at desks every day. Sitting in an uncomfortable position for too long can lead to bad posture and back problems. Stretching can help keep your spine aligned and prevent back injuries. This helps to promote good posture and strengthen your muscles so you avoid future back problems.
How to Start Stretching?
Starting a stretching routine can be overwhelming if you’re not familiar with the different types of stretches. However, there are some basic things you can do to get started.
Because of this, you should always stretch first thing when you wake up, even if you don’t feel tired. You can simply jog, walk, jump rope, or skip for a few minutes before starting your exercise program.
A beginner should start slowly and gradually build up his/her strength. It is important to note that the amount of time spent exercising each session should be short (3-5 mins) and done regularly. Do not push yourself too hard during the initial stages, as this could lead to injury. You should aim to perform stretches 3-4 times per week, however, it is recommended to begin with just 1-2 sessions per week. Once you see positive results, then increase the number of sessions to 3-4 per week.
Focus on Sore Muscles
We must start by focusing on the sore or tight muscle before moving on to the rest of our body. By starting with the sore muscle, we will be able to reduce its pain and stiffness. Over time, we will gradually increase the range of motion for the entire body.
Stretch 5-10 Minutes Daily
Stretches are good because they’re easy and quick. We don’t need to spend hours on them. Regularly doing stretches helps us get the most out of our workouts.
Stretching exercises have an enormous effect on our physical fitness. They improve our flexibility and strength, and they also reduce stress and anxiety. In addition, they boost our energy levels and increase our stamina.
These are just some of the benefits of stretching. So why not add them to your daily routine?
To get the most out of stretching, consistency and patience are essential.
You don’t have to be a yoga master, spend hours in the gym, and run marathons to practice stretching properly.
All you need to do is incorporate stretching into your daily routine to get the most out of it.