Yoga Day

Know how stretches can keep you fit and flexible

“Yoga stretches out your body and releases lactic acid. I do it four times a week, and my skin feels fantastic afterward. When I’m doing a film, I do it every day – I keep a yoga mat in my trailer. Sometimes I do it in front of the TV. The stretching makes me feel so good. It gets my heart going and helps me breathe deeply.” Thandie Newton.

Do you know you can have any time, anywhere fitness regimen without going to the Gym or doing cardio?

Flexibility is as important as muscle built and aerobic fitness. Stretching is about flexibility. Many Yogic postures are about stretching.

“A lot of people don’t understand that stretching has to happen on a regular basis. It should be daily,” says David Nolan, a physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

Stretching of body parts is good for the fitness.  Stretching is a deliberate lengthening of muscles in order to increase muscle flexibility and joint motion.

Most people who are stretching do after and before the exercise. But independent of exercise, stretching is good for our body.

Benefits of Stretching?

Improves blood circulation: Stretching improves blood circulation in the muscles. This improves recovery time of muscle injuries if any.

Good Posture: Regular stretching helps in better body posture. It prevents body posture deterioration.

Stress Relief: Some stretches help in stress relief in the muscles. We feel better after the stretches. Many people do stretches in the morning after getting up. This helps them to activate the muscles for the day.

Improves Range of motion and flexibility: Regular stretching prevents muscle and joint freezing and helps us in motion range improvements. This also prevents injury. Better body flexibility improves quality of life.

Stretching best practice:

Mayo Clinics and Harvard Health recommend some dos and don’ts for better stretching.

  • Do little warm up first
  • Cover all the major muscle and joint groups
  • Breath normally and hold your stretch for 30 seconds
  • Don’t push too much. Minor tension is fine, but not pain.
  • Do not bounce. Do it carefully or with proper guidance.
  • Do it regularly for sustained benefits

Stretches as a treatment:

Stretches are also recommended as a treatment of several conditions.

  • Mark Kovacs, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, adds that the best way to alleviate most sciatica pain is to do “any stretch that can externally rotate the hip to provide some relief.”

Healthline recommends 6 stretches for Sciatica and another 6 stretches to soothe heel pain.

  • Back pain is a common problem. Simple and proper stretches can help to relieve the pain and cure the problem. Athletico recommends 5 stretches for back pain relief.
  • Frozen shoulder is another common problem. Harvard Health suggests 7 stretches as a treatment for the frozen shoulder.

Who should avoid – Do under guidance?

  • People with acute muscle pain
  • Health senior citizen above the age of 65 should do it carefully/ with the help of others.
  • Orthopedic or other patients should do it under the medical guidance.

After reading this, if you are keen to learn the right way of doing different stretches. Here is a Video Stretches for inflexible and beginners guide.

Whether it’s for flexibility of the body, health of the muscles and joints or as a treatment for any medical conditions, stretches should be an important part of our daily life.

“Even if you don’t have time for a big workout, stretching in the morning and night really changes your body.” Erin Heatherton.

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