Why is flexibility so important?
There are many reasons why having a flexible body is vital to our health and well-being. Good flexibility can improve athletic performance in physical activities, and cut down the risks of injuries.
Flexibility also helps to prevent everyday injuries such as muscle strains that may occur when you are getting out of bed, lifting or carrying something, bending down to pick up a child, or even walking up and down stairs.
Stretching should always be incorporated into workouts, but including it in your daily routine is just as important. A few minutes spent stretching before you get busy with your responsibilities will relax and increase blood flow to your muscles, and get you ready for your day!
Health benefits of stretching and flexibility.
Flexibility, the result of regular stretching exercises, is a wonderful benefit to your body. When your body is flexible, the muscles around the spine are strengthened ad supported, and when the spine is working properly, your posture is automatically improved. Pain from previously drooping shoulder, back and neck muscles is dramatically eased.
In addition to your posture, here are some other excellent health benefits from stretching.
Stretching and digestion.
On the big holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas, it is traditional to gather with friends and family to share in a huge meal. The dishes are elaborate and usually richer and sweeter than we are used to. After almost eating yourself into a coma, you barely make it to the couch so that you can sink deeply into the soft cushions for a couple of hours.
This year though, you can do things differently, and avoid some major problems in the belly area.
After the Thanksgiving or Christmas meal, instead of heading for the couch, rather go for a short walk, and encourage others to go with you! Alternatively, if going for a walk is not possible because of weather conditions etc, some gentle stretches after eating will help to ease digestion, prevent acid reflux, and relieve bloating and gas.
Yoga exercises which include stretching have been known to help digestive problems. Studies have shown that when stretching in yoga is combined with a healthy diet, it helps to relieve constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and acid reflux.
While yoga exercises mainly focus on poses which include stretching, many of the exercises also instil a calmness of mind and body. Practising some of the yoga stretching exercises may also help to relieve built-up stress and tension which tighten and cramp your muscles.
Regular exercise of any kind improves the body’s ability to digest food, and studies have shown that stretching to improve blood flow to the muscles, can also prevent bloating and cramps.
Better digestion, and a healthy diet, will also help to promote weight loss, and stretching will lengthen your muscles for a leaner look - and keep your muscles loose and flexible.
For good health and freedom of movement – get stretching!