The Importance Of Stretching
Regardless of your lifestyle, there are almost certainly one or more areas of your body that seem to be “problem” spots. You know the kind of nagging annoyance I am referring to. That one region that always seems to have some sort of tension or ache that never seems to fully relax. This is just as true for the workout warrior as it is for the sedentary desk job employee.
The human body, particularly the musculoskeletal system, is a complex network of hundreds of moving parts all working in unison to foster movement. With such an intricate array of parts, there are bound to be hang-ups from time to time.
Compounding this issue is the fact that the majority of people never take the time to stretch their body. This simple practice is so beneficial for overall functionality and wellness, yet many of us are under the assumption that a stretching routine involves some sort of complex yoga ritual.
While yoga is in fact a great practice to adhere to, stretching as a whole can be fit into literally any schedule and environment. The focus of this article is to highlight a few important reasons why all of us should perform at least some form of stretching routine on a regular basis.
Trying to perform any form of physical labor, such as working out or even tackling chores around the house with tension-riddled muscle tissue is a surefire way to sustain an injury. There is a reason why every guided athletic event or workout session begins with a warm up.
Muscle tissues, as well as the assisting components such as fascia, ligaments and tendons fluctuate in temperature much like the rest of the body. When these structures are asked to perform strenuous task at a lower temperature, the risk of damage is increasingly higher. To reduce this risk, there needs to be an influx of blood and nutrients to the tissue to increase temperature, thereby allowing a more efficient “gliding” and elasticity increase.
While a basic warm up may seem out of place other than before exercise or athletic activity, you need to set aside time before ANY physical activity to prime the necessary body parts for use.
For example, your body has no idea if you are lifting a forty-five pound barbell or taking down Christmas decorations from the attic. The muscles only sense resistance and react in the same way. Therefore, a stretching routine that elongates the tissues and increases circulation to all the parts involved in movement is important, regardless of the task.
A large percentage of individuals have less than normal range of motion in their bodies without even knowing it. Because this process usually happens over a prolonged period of time, decreased motion in the joints and muscles tends to become a persons’ new “normal”.
With a progressive loss of motion over time, our overall functionality in every area of life is also affected. Physical tasks become harder because the body cannot get in the most efficient position to complete them. Movements that used to be performed pain-free seem to become uncomfortable.
In the absence of at least semi-regular stretching, this effect is almost inevitable. To remain viable, the parts of our body designed for movement have to be nurtured and used. If you are going to maximize your physical functionality and sustain it for the duration, stretching is a must.
Our society, without a doubt, sits more than any other time in human history. So much of our day such as riding in a vehicle, working at a computer, even watching television in the evening is performed sitting down. Because of this practice, the body becomes a walking muscle imbalance.
The average person's posture is quite poor, leading to chronic back pain, misalignment of the spine and the all too common muscular tension of the neck and upper back. While it is fair to say that, for many of us, sitting down is an inevitable part of life, regular stretching can at least mitigate this necessity.
Taking a little time here and there elongate tight muscle groups caused by maintaining the same posture for long periods of time through basic stretching can be a big asset.