The Incredible Value of Stretching (+ Pro Tips)

Everyone can agree on the importance of exercise when it comes to longevity, range of motion, strength, and overall health. What’s often overlooked, however, is the incredible value of stretching. Whatever your fitness goals, stretching should be an unmissable aspect of your daily routine.

Most people would agree that stretching provides benefits, but the majority also tend to skip out on this step. You’ve probably been there – the last thing you want to do after you’ve finished your weight session or a long, sweaty cardio workout is sit down on the floor and contort your body to a point near discomfort or pain.

Stretching isn’t always the most enjoyable aspect of exercise, but the benefits are undisputed. Regardless of your current level of physical activity (or lack thereof), everyone should be engaged in a frequent stretching routine. Here’s why:


The Benefits of Stretching

stretching leg with running shoes on

  • Improved flexibility & range of motion

Perhaps the most significant and well-known benefit to regular stretching is the improved physical flexibility and range of motion you’ll see. The effects of stretching are cumulative and take time, so don’t be upset when you don’t see results right away. Stretching will make you more bendable over time. As you age, this increased range of motion will be especially welcome, as our bodies tend to stiffen up naturally as we get older.


  • Boost circulation

There’s research to suggest that regular stretching increases the blood flow to our muscles, and therefore improves circulation. For active people and athletes this is important because the increased circulation will shorten recovery time and decrease soreness. But if you’re generally inactive, the improved circulation can help you avoid swelling, muscle soreness, numbness, bulging veins, and the ‘pins and needles’ sensation.


  • Calming & stress reducing

Another key benefit of stretching is the stress reducing capability. This benefit is often overlooked, and earned as a byproduct when individuals are trying to improve their flexibility. When you stretch, you’re presented with a unique opportunity to slow your mind down and develop a mind-body connection with your muscles. This act of slowing down and being mindful is not only a great stress relief for your body, but for your mind too.


  • Pain relief

Regular stretching is a great way to target nagging pain, whether it’s a headache, neck, shoulder, or back pain. Stretching can help reduce that tension. If you’re dealing with constant pain, try visiting a chiropractor. They’ll start with an assessment, then work with you to construct a treatment plan that will work best.


Tips for Stretching

man stretching on a track

There are several ways you can go about stretching, and depending on who you ask, a variety of best practices, things to avoid, and optimal routines for respective desired benefits. In this article, we’ll just highlight some tips for beginners.

To start, it’s best you consult a professional if you have a pre-existing injury, chronic pain, or other physical limitations. In cases like these, you could risk further injury with stretching. If you’re relatively pain-free and ready to begin a regular stretching regimen, here are some best practices:


  • Don’t go too hard

This one is important especially if you’re new to stretching. If you overdo it by stretching the same muscle group too far or too often, you risk straining and injuring yourself.


  • Make sure you’re warm

As a general rule, the best time to stretch is after a workout, run, or physical activity for the day. At this time, your body will be most malleable. Plus when you’re warm, it’s more difficult to injure yourself.


  • Slow and steady

In order to avoid injury and over-stretching, keep your stretches slow and steady while avoiding bouncing back and forth. This bouncing method was seen as a viable stretching method for a time but has since been concluded unsafe.


  • Hold that!

To get the most out of a stretch, it’s generally advised to hold it for about 30 seconds. Long, deep stretches combined with maintaining regular breathing are the building blocks of flexibility.


  • Keep it consistent

If you want to see results from stretching, you must maintain a level of consistency. Set aside 5 to 10 minutes per day, ideally some time after your exercise for the day, and stick to it. Without consistency, you won’t get far.


  • Keep both sides balanced

When stretching, or doing any physical activity for that matter, the goal should be to become equally flexible on the left and right side of your body. Without some symmetry, you’re opening the door for injury.


Are you experiencing nagging pain in your back, shoulders, head, or neck? You could be dealing with chronic pain from bad posture, a previous injury, or a range of other causes. Book an appointment at Sardis Chiropractic for an initial evaluation and to get started on a treatment plan.

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