The benefits of Stretching: Why Every Body Needs It

Tuesday 15 Aug 2023
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There’s no such thing as too much stretch! Stretching every day is a great way to improve flexibility, help injury prevention, and leave you feeling calm and serene.

Why should I stretch?

Stretching offers numerous physical and mental benefits:

- Stretching helps maintain balanced muscle tone and prevents muscles from becoming overly tight. This can contribute to better posture by allowing your body to maintain proper alignment. 

- Stretching can alleviate muscle tension and reduce discomfort. It can be particularly beneficial for people who experience chronic muscle pain, such as those with desk jobs or sedentary lifestyles. 

- As you age, your muscles naturally lose flexibility and become more prone to injury. Regular stretching can counteract this process and help you maintain a higher level of physical function as you grow older.

- Stretching increases blood flow to your muscles, which can improve circulation and promote nutrient and oxygen delivery to tissues. This can aid in muscle recovery and overall body function.

Watch how stretching actually changes your muscles: 

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Calming practices such as breath training, meditation and yoga are the perfect complement to any busy lifestyle. Start experimenting with these different practices by adding one or two sessions to your weekly routine – it can make a remarkable difference to your sense of wellbeing.

Find out more about the benefits of Yoga. 

Keep stretching safe:

- Focus on having equal flexibility side to side. Flexibility that is not equal on both sides may be a risk factor for injury.

- Make sure you hold your stretch. Breathe normally and hold each stretch for about 30 seconds; in problem areas, you may need to hold for around 60 seconds.

- Keep it up! Stretching regularly, at least two to three times a week can help you to get the most benefits. Even 5 to 10 minutes of stretching at a time can be helpful.

- Expect to feel tension while you're stretching, not pain. If it hurts, you've pushed too far. 

Remember to warm up before engaging in any intense stretching routine, and listen to your body to avoid overstretching, which can lead to injury.

If you're unsure about the best stretching routine for your needs, consider consulting with a fitness professional or physical therapist. 

Watch the NHS Strength and Flex exercise how-to videos.

Discover a captivating fusion of wellness practices in our timetables. Dive into the harmonious blend of Yoga, Pilates, Yogalates, and Bodybalance classes, each offering a rejuvenating stretch that seamlessly integrates into your daily routine.

by Fiona Perryman