Bottom Line: Stretching each day is an integral part of improving your overall health. Even if you’re not an athlete, stretching provides important benefits for both your mind and body. Believe it or not, there is a right and wrong way to stretch. Knowing the differences, and understanding the proper technique will help you stay more energized throughout the day and can also improve the flexibility of your joints.
Why it Matters: The days of “static” stretching are long gone. Static stretching, or bouncing as you stretch, can cause injuries and pain. Health experts now recommend dynamic stretching, which can release muscle tension, increase energy levels, and improve the delivery of nutrients to your muscles. Dynamic stretching should be performed at least 2-3 days a week for a minimum of 10 minutes per session. Benefits of Stretching include:
· Improved Flexibility - stretching can enhance your flexibility by keeping your muscles and joints limber.
· Increased Energy - while stretching your body increases blood flow and nutrient delivery which can help you feel more energized.
· Better Posture - consistent stretching will encourage proper alignment and can improve your posture over time.
Next Steps: The first step is to set your schedule. Using your smartphone, schedule three days this week to begin your dynamic stretching routine. Dynamic stretching is a technique where you perform gentle movements that mimic an activity of daily living or a sport-specific activity. For instance, before running, you may choose to perform a dynamic stretch that includes walking and knee lifts. If you have questions about the best dynamic stretching for your activity level- let us know today!
Science Source: Stretching: Focus on Flexibility. Mayo Clinic. 2017