While you may think that stretching is something only athletes do, everyday people like you and I should incorporate stretching into our daily lives in order to keep our muscles flexible, strong, and healthy.
WHY? So that we can still improve or at least maintain our ability and mobility to do daily activities even as we get older.
In this day and age where sitting seems to be a default pose for anyone in school, at most of the workplace, while travelling and even for retirees on a daily basis, investing just 5-10 minutes of your day stretching will improve blood flow and enable your muscles and joints to work effectively.
Why is stretching good for your physical and mental health?
Stretching can alter neurotransmitters in the brain for the better. When we are stressed, we tend to tense up our muscles in a fight or flight response. By stretching the tensed muscles, we are sending a message to our brains that we are not in danger. That simple action gives a positive effect on our mood and cognitive skills too, not just to relax our muscles.
Here’s 5 major reasons why you should stretch, even for just 5 minutes every day:
- Protects you against chronic inflammation
- Increase blood flow and circulation in the body
- Enables your muscles and joints to work more effectively
- Improves your ability to do daily activities without getting hurt
- Decreases your risk of injuries during physical activities
Blood flow and muscle action when muscles are relaxed or contracted.
Anatomy & Physiology, Connexions Web site. http://cnx.org/content/col11496/1.6/, Jun 19, 2013.
Just like every exercise, it is important to do them correctly with proper techniques. Stretching incorrectly can often do more harm than good.
And hence, make sure that you follow these 5 tips to keep stretching safe and effective:-
Don’t bounce. Bouncing during stretching can apply pressure to the joints and tendon, causing them to tighten further and result in a higher risk of injury, sprain and microtear.
Don’t aim for pain. While stretching can be slightly uncomfortable at times, it should never hurt. You want to be able to feel a stretch or tension, but never a pain. If it hurts, back off to the point where you don’t feel any pain and hold the stretch.
Hold the stretch. Research shows that when you hold the stretch for at least 10-30 seconds, the brain will recognise it as a stretch rather than an injury. You can also repeat the stretch for 2-3 times to maximise the benefit of the stretch.
Be consistent. Just like almost anything in the world (eg:workout or weight losing program), you need consistency and discipline for us to achieve our aim. You don’t gain a six pack abs the day after your first workout session, you must also stretch regularly (at least 2-3 times a week) to notice a difference in your range of motion.
Be symmetry. Make sure to stretch both sides of the muscle groups and not just focus on the one that is tighter or dysfunctional. Your body works as a whole, as much as you want both sides to have equal flexibility, stretching only one side for a long term may lead to compensation which will then increase the risk of injury in the future.
Not sure how to easily and effectively include stretching into your everyday life? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered~
Stay tuned for our Short Video on 5 Easy Stretch Poses next week on our socials😉
We’ll be sharing how you can easily do these stretches at your work desk, during TV time in the evening or even just to unwind before sleep!
Dr. Grace and Dr. Nin Kee from My Chirocare stretches their bodies every day too in order to have optimal musculoskeletal health, but remember, if your pain or body discomforts persist, do consider visiting a certified and professional chiropractor to find out the root cause, and begin your road to wellness.
Looking to make an appointment with us? Click here!