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What are the Benefits of Daily Stretching?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 31 October 2016
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Stretching is a gentle movement that can help tone different areas of the body when done regularly in repetitions. Some exercise disciplines such as Pilates and yoga feature many different stretches that tone as well as relax the body. The benefits of daily stretching can include a more limber, less injury-prone body, lower stress levels, better muscle tone and less overall pain.

When people don't move their muscles enough, aches and pains often result — especially with increased age. Doing daily stretching exercises usually has the result of keeping the muscles working more smoothly; this can greatly reduce muscle ache and joint pain. While ice, heat and massage may all minimize muscle ache, regular stretching can prevent muscles from "freezing up" or cramping so the extra treatments may not be necessary.

Having a routine of stretching exercises and sticking to it daily can result in a more firm and tone body in a month or more's time. Stretching the arms and legs every day can help keep unattractive flab away. Since stretching should be done gently and slowly, it's not strenuous; people of all fitness levels can do it. Even those with limited mobility can stretch limbs in which they have some capacity for movement. Elderly persons or those who are ill and can't stand for very long may be able to do seated daily stretching.

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Seated stretches can be done from a chair or wheelchair. A daily stretching routine that matches a person's mobility and flexibility levels can be completed from a sitting position. Even people who are confined to bed rest may be able to do some stretching depending on their doctor's approval. They may be able to stretch their body forward at the waist while stretching out their hands and feet. If stretching is combined with deep, relaxing breathing it may help to calm a person and lower feelings of stress.

Another strong benefit of daily stretching as an exercise is that no special equipment or a lot of space is needed. It's also not a noisy activity such as stair-stepping, so it can be done in an apartment with other residences below or while roommates are sleeping. Stretching before daily workouts such as running can help prevent injury because it warms up, or prepares, the muscles and joints for strenuous exercise. Stretching also helps the body recover, or cool down, when done after the strenuous exercise to help get the heart rate and breathing back to normal.

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Fa5t3r
Post 3

@Ana1234 - The worst is when you have gotten out of the habit of stretching and try to do it at your previous standard. I hadn't done a proper set of daily stretching exercises for a while and I recently decided to try one again. I was actually kind of shocked by how much my muscles had shortened. I hope it doesn't take too long to stretch them out again because it's not nearly as much fun if you can't stretch them very far.

Ana1234
Post 2

@Iluviaporos - I think stretching along with exercise is still misunderstood by a lot of people. For years it was considered a good thing to do static stretching before a workout because it was supposed to loosen up your muscles and prevent injury.

They still recommend that you warm up (by jogging or with careful dynamic stretching) but studies have shown that static stretching before a workout actually increases the chances of injury because it loosens the muscles up too much.

So it's definitely better to put your stretching routine at the end of a workout and skip having it at the beginning.

But you can also have it at any time during the day. As long as you don't force your muscles too far, it's good for them to be stretched out lightly, even if they are "cold". Just pay attention and don't push too hard and they will warm up and stretch further as you go.

lluviaporos
Post 1

I always feel much better if I take the time to stretch after exercise. I suspect it might just be because I'm giving myself time to cool down and feel the endorphins that might not be completely obvious when I'm still sweating away on the bike.

I didn't think I did anything all that special, to be honest, but recently I went to a yoga session with a friend of mine for the first time and she was surprised that I was able to do most of the positions the first time. So I guess what I take for granted as just a part of the routine is definitely giving me some benefits.

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