Taking a few minutes to stretch throughout the day or scheduling in regular Pilates classes to incorporate targeted stretches into movements can have amazing benefits for your body. Besides the obvious improvements of helping you reach to your toes to tie up or shoe, regular stretching also gives you more energy and helps you feel better, among a whole other myriad of benefits.
How? As we age our body’s connective tissues being our muscles, tendons, and ligaments start to shorten and tighten and lose their elasticity and suppleness.
Worse still than the effects of ageing, are effects associated with poor posture. These are often related to our lifestyle and recreational pursuits. Things like prolonged sitting, with our head forward, texting on our phones and lots of running to name a few.
Postures that throw us out of our natural alignment cause a tightening of our muscles and restrict the blood flow to the area.
Stretching helps increase the blood flow to the tight areas of our body. This action creates a lengthening of the muscles and tendons you are focusing on. This flexibility can improve everything from your golf game to your running time, as you are able to move with greater efficiency.
So despite the damage you’ve done, and no matter your age, flexibility can be regained by stretching regularly.
A change in your body can be seen in a number of weeks and most importantly you will stand taller and feel better.
Our top tips for developing your home stretching program
Focus on three major areas of tightness in your body. Hips, hamstrings and lower back are normally good places to start.
Hold your stretch for 30 seconds, and work on increasing the duration of the stretch each day up to a maximum of 60 seconds
Be consistent perform stretches twice a day as a minimum or after activities as part of a cool down.
Don’t push through pain, that isn’t related to the stretch. Pain is a signal that something is not right in our body, so don’t ignore it.
Don’t forget to breathe slowly, as this helps your body to relax and the muscles to lengthen.