When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, many will cite weight loss, more exercise and better diet as their top goals. One often-overlooked area of health and wellness is stretching and all the benefits that come with it. Here, Shalee Crudo, Master Flexologist at StretchLab (which has locations in Arcadia, Scottsdale Gainey and North Scottsdale, with its fourth location slated to open at Desert Ridge in February) discusses the importance of stretching and why it should be a priority in 2021.
Studies show that stretching has numerous positive effects on the body and when done regularly, can drastically improve quality of life. Outlined below are the benefits of stretching that we discuss with our clients at StretchLab and why it should be included in your New Year’s resolutions.
- Improved range of motion, flexibility and mobility. Like any other exercise, stretching gets easier the more you do it. At first you might find yourself having a hard time getting into certain positions, but the more regularly you practice, the more flexible and mobile you’ll become. With more flexibility will come more strength, less pain, better posture and improved overall physical performance. This increased mobility will also slow down the effects of aging in the body and reduce chronic pain that comes from getting older.
- Decreased risk of injury. Before engaging in physical activity, it’s best to do dynamic stretches, or stretches that involve more active, fluid movements. These stretches will warm up and engage the muscles, lubricate your tendons to prepare you for exercise and help you avoid hurting a muscle that wasn’t prepared for activity. Examples of dynamic stretches include arms circles, leg swings and torso twists. After a workout, static stretches, which don’t involve much movement, will help cool your body down and will keep your muscles from getting too stiff. Examples of static stretches include toe touches, cross-body shoulder stretch and heel-to-glute quadricep stretch. Stretching your body before and after activity will help you recover quicker, reduce overall soreness and ultimately prevent serious acute and chronic injuries that come with a more rigorous exercise routine.
- Increased blood flow to muscles. One of the best benefits you receive from stretching is that it increases blood flow, boosts oxygen levels and helps deliver nutrients to your muscles. It also helps remove metabolic waste like carbon dioxide, ammonia and uric acid. This boost in blood flow, circulation and oxygen levels will not only help your physical performance by releasing tension and reducing soreness but also your mental performance by allowing for a clearer, calmer mind and more positive mood.
Whether more exercise is a part of your New Year’s resolution or if you’re just feeling the effects from working at a desk all day, stretching is one of the best things you can do for your body and requires just a few minutes a day.
If you struggle with stretching on your own, a certified Flexologist from StretchLab can assist you with a customized routine that targets the areas of your body that need it most. You can make an appointment with a StretchLab Flexologist by visiting StretchLab.com.