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Is Stretching Really That Important?Published:
It’s sort of stealthy, this idea that we all need to stretch. You probably don’t remember who first told you that stretching was important. And most of us don’t know how much we’re supposed to stretch, or when, or how. And if stretching is really that big of a deal, why aren’t more of us doing it on a regular basis?
Because we like pain, that’s why! No, we’re just kidding. But, truth be told, when you start to look into the benefits of stretching, it’s surprising it’s not a routine part of all of our lives.
Here are just a few of the perks of a good stretch sesh:
- It increases flexibility (obviously)
- It improves athletic performance
- It minimizes risk for injury
- It reduces certain bodily aches and pains
- It improves your posture
- It supports healthy circulation
- It relieves stress
When to stretch
All of us should be stretching for about 10 minutes each day. It’s not a huge time commitment and it can go a long way towards improving the way you feel in your body. Stretching helps with lots of stuff — from tension headaches to back pain — so it’s worth penciling in the time. On your rest days, find when works for you, whether you make it a part of your morning routine or stretch before getting into bed.
On days you work out, it’s best to stretch before and after your exercise. Do at least five minutes of dynamic (moving) stretches before you work out and another five to ten minutes of static (held) stretches afterward.
How to stretch
Like most physical activity, stretching requires proper form so you don’t get injured. So it’s time to do a little homework. There are tons of beginner stretching routines available online that will walk you through a series of stretches. And you can research specific stretches for your areas of tension, whether that’s your neck, hamstrings, shoulders, or anywhere else on your body.
Put together a routine that makes your body feel good, stick with it, and notice how much better you feel with just 10 minutes of stretching per day.