When you wake up in the morning one of your first, primal instincts are to bellow a great loud yawn and then proceed to stretch your arms and legs out wide. This is a natural response to your body as it begins to loosen up and promote healthy blood flow throughout your body as it recovers from its sleeping state. Stretching when you wake up, before you head to work or school, or before a workout provides tremendous benefits to your physical and mental health. Here are a few amazing ways stretching helps you:
Invigorates Your Body and Mind
When you’re mentally or physically tired the first thing you may think of doing is grabbing a cup of coffee or a caffeine tablet to encourage alertness and reduce fatigue; however, are you aware that stretching is a natural way of invigorating your body and mind. When you stretch, you are promoting steady blood flow throughout your body and to your brain, which will help your cognitive functioning and improve your memory. Stretching will also help you feel less lazy and more energized.
You’ll Be Less Likely to Injure Yourself
Stretching before your workout is the best preventative method for avoiding injury. Unfortunately, our bodies are incredibly fickle and although you may know correct form, it takes one slip up or one mistake to do great bodily harm. Stretching improves your body’s range of motion and allows you to exert more energy into whichever workout you plan on doing. For example, if you are doing squats, stretching your legs & knees will enable you to do deeper & more efficient squats, which may prevent you from hurting yourself.
You'll Maximize Your Workouts
Speaking to our last point, when you stretch you are warming up the muscles and joints throughout your body. When you are unstretched, your muscles & joints are cold and retracted which can be detrimental to a physically active individual. Before your workout, you want to increase your body’s temperature with dynamic stretches. Dynamic stretches require you to move your body instead of staying still and holding a stretch position. Dynamic stretches can include going for a light jog, sprint, leg swings, etc.
Particularly relatable for individuals that sit down all day (i.e. working in an office setting), the lack of movement means that energy that is produced in your body remains dormant and static. Getting up and stretching is a fantastic way to be active without exerting too much energy; get up from your desk and start stretching your hands, legs, fingers, neck, and hips. Stretching can help your brain’s cognitive abilities including memory retainment and critical thinking skills. Although stretching is important for your overall well-being, the key is just being active. When you work all day or don’t take time to focus on your physical and mental health you can begin to stress yourself out; stretching presents you with the opportunity to take your mind off your tasks at-hand and free your brain to promote creativity and relaxation.