Is Stretching a Real Form of Exercise?

Stretching

You probably already know there are a ton of different factors that contribute to maintaining your health. Getting a full night’s rest, staying hydrated during the day, and eating well-balanced meals are the most commonly shared tips when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, maintaining your heart health and nervous system. However, this is just scraping the surface, as there are so many other aspects of your body that need full support.

It’s not easy to maintain an ideal health, but paying attention to stiff joints and sore muscles will pay off in supporting you on your journey to a healthier lifestyle. One of the most fundamental aspects of physical therapy is stretching, and for good reason! Even though most people look at stretching as a pre-workout or post-workout activity, stretching actually has a long list of benefits that should be taken into account if you’re looking to improve your health.

Some of the basic benefits to stretching are as follows:

  1. It can improve your mental health. Stretching your muscles is very helpful in alleviating physical and mental tension.Alleviating tension in the muscles is helpful in alleviating tension in the mind. Yoga is a particularly popular form of stretching which focuses on mindfulness and meditation during stretching processes.
  2. It can help you prevent the need for surgery. Stretching provides our bodies with a means to keep our muscles warmed up and ready for exercise. This in turn decreases the chances of a muscle strain or sprain, and therefore also cuts down on the chance of you needing expensive surgery to repair the injury.
  3. Your range of motion will improve. Stretching regularly helps your muscles to extend fully, which can improve your range of motion over time! This means you’ll be more flexible, and it’s also very helpful with the prevention of injuries as well.
  4. It relieves muscle pain and tension. Stretching helps to alleviate muscle pain and discomfort throughout your body. Certain stretches are meant to help relieve back pain, some are meant for shoulder or neck pain, and so on. It’s a good idea to consult a physical therapist first about specific issues with pain before practicing targeted stretching exercises at home by yourself.
  5. Blood circulation will be improved. Your heart and musculoskeletal system will be improved by stretching regularly. Sometimes muscles can become extremely tight, and won’t receive enough oxygen. This can be painful. Stretching improves blood flow to your joints and muscles, further reducing your risk of being injured.

Getting Started With A Stretching Routine

Make sure when you start to stretch that you have plenty of space around you to move. Using a yoga mat is a great option to create a safe and supported area where you can gain traction easily. Remember to wear loose clothing so as not to constrict your limbs; you’ll be able to move much more freely!

As you stretch, remember to drink lots of water as well. Stretching might not feel like an intense exercise like running or doing push-ups, but it’s still very important to stay hydrated and support your muscles. To get more information on starting a good stretching routine, contact Innovative Physical Therapy to make an appointment with a physical therapist.