The Importance of Stretching
The average person probably thinks stretching is only beneficial for bodybuilders and athletes. Most of us don’t even stretch before or after we go to the gym or partake in strenuous activity. However, stretching is a very important aspect that everyone should engage in, regardless of working out or not. This activity involves very little energy and can be completed even at home while watching Netflix.
Let’s picture a person who works 9 to 5, five days a week, and spends hours at a time sitting at a desk. Being slumped in a chair all day isn't great -- the body’s muscles become tight, especially the hamstrings, which can make it difficult to bend your knees and fully straighten your legs. Consequently this can hamper the way you walk and even cause injuries due to weakened muscles.
“Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints. Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight. Then, when you call on the muscles for activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way. That puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.”
Where to Begin:
The whole body has over 630 muscles -- it would be easy to feel overwhelmed or confused about where to start. Refer back to the article on Harvard Health Publishing which advises a primary focus on the lower extremities (calves, hamstrings, and quadriceps) while adding in your shoulders, lower back, and neck. These are the areas that are critical for everyday mobility.
Effects of Stretching:
For all of you who aren’t habitual stretchers, remember - it has taken years for the body to develop tight muscles. This means that it will not take one session here and there to reverse the situation. For lasting results, you must remain committed to getting your body right and stick the routine for months.
Shape.com also explains that stretching can lead to better posture, fewer aches and pains, greater confidence, and a cheerier outlook on life because it increases your blood flow and circulation for a healthier body by sending oxygen to your brain.