To Stretch or Not to Stretch, that is the Question

Stretching. Stretching may be one of the most overlooked aspects of fitness and health, but girl, it's a big deal. Stretching is the deliberate lengthening of muscles in order to increase muscle flexibility and joint range of motion. It literally keeps your muscles and joints young! There are huge benefits to stretching before you do physical activity and following physical activity, but I want to bring this point home: regardless if you are hitting the gym or not, stretching is always a good idea.

Stretching before you move your body looks different than after, but it is a great way to warm up your body, get the blood flowing, and ultimately prevent against injury during your workout. Before working out you want to do active stretches, while after you want to focus on targeted stretches. Stretching after your workout helps prevent soreness by getting blood and oxygen to the fatigued muscles. This is why trainers always say to breathe through your stretches and not to hold your breath.

Regardless of your workout regiment, we want to encourage you, even challenge you, to stretch every day for the next week. You may be thinking, "Why is it so important for me to stretch? I'm not out running 5 miles or pumping iron in the gym." Aside from the pre and post workout stretch, here are some of the top benefits you will experience from regular stretching:

1. Increased flexibility and joint range of motion. 
Flexible muscles can improve your daily performance. Every day tasks such as lifting packages (or toddlers), bending down to tie your shoes (or a toddler's shoe), or hurrying to get the kids to the bus stop become easier and less tiring. Flexibility diminishes with age, but you can regain, and most importantly, maintain it with regular stretching.

2. Improved circulation.
Stretching increases blood flow to your muscles. Blood flowing to your muscles brings nourishment and gets rid of waste and toxins in the muscle tissue. Improved circulation can help shorten your recovery time if you have any muscle injuries.

3. Better posture.
Frequent stretching can help your muscles from getting tight, allowing you to maintain good posture, which also minimizes discomfort and muscle pain.

4. Relives stress.
Stretching relaxes tight and tense muscles that often come along with stress. Save some money on those massages and stretching it out.

5. Improved coordination. 
Finally, maintaining the full range of motion through your joints keeps you in better balance. Coordination and balance will help keep you mobile and less prone to injury from falling, especially as you get older.

Okay, so what do you think? Are you convinced yet? 
We hope you will join us this week and challenge yourself to stretch every day. It doesn't have to be anything crazy or take a long time, just take 5-10 minutes to stretch, breathe, and clear your mind. It will do wonders for you body, mind, and soul! 

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