Regular stretching is highly beneficial. First and foremost, it increases your flexibility. This is helpful first because it makes performing daily activities easier, and second because it can help you maintain your mobility as you age.
“Stretching is an extremely important practice to add to your daily routine to be on your way to better health. Even if you are not planning on exercising vigorously, it is still important to stretch in order to receive multiple benefits for your body and your mind.” — UC Davis
6 Incredible Ways Stretching Can Increase Your Health
The benefits of stretching extend beyond making you more limber. There are many advantages of consistently stretching your body. Here are a few:
1) Improves sports performance — For athletes, stretching is a must. It can increase performance by helping prepare your muscles for physical activity. It also reduces your risk of injury.
2) Eases (and prevents) back pain — Most people will experience back pain at some point. If you already deal with this common type of pain, stretching can help you.
“Stretching and strengthening are key to healing and preventing back pain,” according to Harvard Health Publishing.
Additionally, stretching can prevent back pain from developing.
3) Decreases tension headaches — Looking for a drug-free way to decrease tension headaches? If so, try stretching.
“Tension and stress headaches can interfere with your daily life. In addition to a proper diet, adequate hydration, and plenty of rest, stretching may help reduce the tension you feel from headaches,” stated Healthline.
4) Reduces cholesterol — If you have high cholesterol, stretching may be your new best friend. “Stretching on a routine basis and eating a healthy diet can help reduce cholesterol,” wrote a contributor to Whole Body Health Physical Therapy.
5) Bolsters balance — Those who consider themselves clumsy should regularly stretch. “Researchers think stretching could help with fine-muscle coordination—meaning those who stretched first might have been able to avoid a tumble by making small balance adjustments,” stated 7 Benefits of Stretching That’ll Make You Feel Amazing.
6) Lowers stress — A decrease in stress is likely one of the first payoffs you’ll receive from consistent stretching. Stretching lengthens muscles, relieving overall tension in the body and, often, the mind. While stretching isn’t a cure-all for anxiety, it is a great addition to your stress-relief or self-care plan.
How to Get Started Stretching
If you aren’t already in the habit of stretching, give these stretches a try. When getting started, try not to put too much stress on your muscles. Ease up on any stretch that feels painful (or stop altogether), and be patient with yourself. It can take weeks to significantly increase your flexibility, so don’t rush.
If you want a personalized, guided stretching and exercise plan, a physiotherapist can help you.