Whether you are a fitness enthusiast or someone who loves to exercise the brain more than the body, one of the most important things to do is to recognize the importance of stretching as an everyday activity.
Stretching regularly immensely benefits your joints and your muscles keeping them flexible and strong.
Flexibility being an important aspect of fitness is achieved best by including stretching in your fitness regimen.
WHY IS STRETCHING NECESSARY BEFORE EXERCISING
Stretching is the first step before you begin any workout. It prepares your body for the exercise routine, be it Yoga or athletics. It helps us prep our body for the action.
Stretching gives your joints the freedom to use their entire range of movement. The flexibility you achieve through stretching gives you freedom from restricting certain movements, or motions, and allows you to test the limits of your joints or muscles.
BENEFITS OF STRETCHING
HELPS YOU IN ANY PHYSICAL ACTIVITY:
Be it an athletic activity or your everyday routine, stretching is the warm-up your body needs to ease itself into any movement.
The first thing you do on waking up is to stretch yourself. This helps get rid of any stiffness you might experience upon waking and also increases the blood flow. You could say stretching awakens your muscles and joints to help them get you started!
*For relieving stiffness in your legs or feet:
1) Sit on the bed with your legs in front of you and your hands straight behind you, supporting you.
2) Stretch your feet by pointing the toes outwards and inwards for a few times.
3) Next, rotate your toes clockwise and anti-clockwise.
*For relieving stiffness in back:
1) Lie on the bed without your pillow and place your hands by your sides. Bend your knees with your feet flat on the bed.
2) Slowly, lift your torso with your head still on the bed so that your chest, torso, and your thighs are in a line, your feet firmly on the bed, and your hands flat on the bed, supporting you. Breathe easy for a few seconds and come back with your back on the bed. Do it twice, as slowly as possible. Do not hurry.
3) Finally, lie on your back with your legs stretched in front of you, the way you sleep, and focus on your breathing. This exercise gives relief from back pain, neck pain, and opens up the chest.
HELPS IMPROVE YOUR POSTURE AND GIVES RELIEF FROM BACK PAIN:
A correct posture is necessary for the proper functioning of our body, for maintaining our balance and keeping the back pain-free.
*To help improve your posture and strengthen your spine:
1) Get down on all fours, like a cat. Place the knees slightly apart. Breathe in and push your torso towards the floor so that your spine is arched. Turn your head up and look at the ceiling.
2) Inhale and exhale thrice before straightening the spine.
3) Next, breathe in and turn your head down to look at the floor and your back arched upwards towards the ceiling, like a cat when it stretches its body. Inhale and exhale thrice before returning to the normal position.
This gentle stretching exercise works on the spine improves your posture and gives relief from neck and back pain.
CALMS AN ANXIOUS MIND:
To find relief from anxiety, the first thing you need to do is to breathe deeply. Stretching helps you focus on your breathing as you exercise your body. This gives your mind a moment away from anxiety by helping you focus on breathing and being mindful of the moment.
Stress affects the way we carry ourselves. Our muscles tend to get tensed and this results in aches and pains. Stretching gently helps the muscles in reducing the tension in those areas.
*To ease the tension buildup in your neck and shoulders:
1).Turn your head up and then bend down a few times. Bend your neck side to side a few times, slowly and gently, without jerking the neck.
2).Rotate your shoulders clockwise and anti-clockwise a few times.
3) Push your shoulders to the back and your chest to the front for a few seconds and come back to the same position. These stretching exercises relieve tension in the shoulders and neck and help you calm down, too.