The Benefits of Stretching

by glenn on February 1, 2012

If you’ve ever been desperately searching for a rubber band in your desk drawer, exalted when you found one, but feel deflated the next moment when you begin to stretch it and the rubber band begins to crack and rip in an unnatural way for one you at not alone.  This should be easy to visualize and serve as an example of what happens to muscles that go unused, unstretched, and then are suddenly called into action.  The sudden call of duty can have painful results, that could have been avoided with a regular stretching routine.

 

The first positive you will derive from beginning a stretching routine is an improvement in flexibility and movement.  Nobody enjoys those first few steps when they get out of bed and everything feels stiff.  The last thing you would want is for that feeling to stick around all day.  Like a Weeping Willow tree, your posture is terrible.  If you have been stretching regularly, this type of early morning stiffness will dissipate shortly and you’ll be standing up erect quickly.  equally as important, improved flexibility allows you to reach more easily for things.  Your range of motion is better and your reach may even be extended by an inch or two.  For some who have taken pilates, they have even reported getting taller after a few months of performing the exercises.

 

A direct benefit of the elasticity that your muscles develop through stretching and the one I most closely associate with is injury prevention.  Reaching for and pulling on everyday items is when most people get in trouble from not stretching.  Simple gestures like reaching to open a door for someone or trying to get a box on a high shelf are typical beginnings for the story of the injured.  For me, it was in the middle of the night when I had to change bed sheets, that I overextended and hurt my back.  I do stretch regularly, but this moreover exemplifies what can happen when your stiff.  Out of a still sleep, I was performing reaches and pulling the mattress when my body was just jostled from sleep.  My back hurt the next day.  After a few days of stretching (ironically), heat, and ice I was back to feeling 100% again.  On a regular day, changing a bed sheet is not a problem at all, because I stretch regularly.  As an avid runner, I do not experience muscle pulls as a result of regular stretching.

 

Increased circulation can provide a number of benefits, including oxygen flow to the muscles.  The increased flow of oxygen can improve muscular endurance, because it provides more of the things your muscles need.  On the other end, the increased flow allows for the removal of lactic acid, other toxins, and waste to be done more rapidly preventing any buildup, thus carrying away carbon dioxide and other waste that can slow your muscle’s recovery.

 

We can’t all be like the cartoon character Plastic Man, nor are we expected to be contortionists. Whether you choose to work with a personal trainer NYC, or with an instructor who teaches yoga NYC, or pilates NYC, you can create and perform a great stretching routine to increase your flexibility and enjoy the benefits.

 

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