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The Importance of Stretching

What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed in the morning?

Without even thinking about it, you stretch. It is a natural and instinctual behavior we do on a daily basis, but many people don’t loosen up enough. Keep reading to find out what all that stretching is doing for your body, and why you should think about doing a bit more on a regular basis.

Our muscles get tight when we don’t move them for extended periods of time.

Stretching can help lengthen out your muscles and tendons so you feel better and allow for easier movement. Stretching  helps relieve pain, soreness, and stress that come with physical activity. It also increases energy by elevating blood circulation and the supply of nutrients to muscles and cartilage.

When you stretch the various muscle groups in the body you profit by getting more oxygen in the blood which means reduced stress levels. Proper stretching techniques can reduce the amount of stiffness in your muscles which in turn will help you become more relaxed, both body and mind. A relaxed body and mind makes for a happier and calmer day.  If your neck muscles are giving you trouble during your day, gently stretch them to release tension, this can even prevent headaches.

To avoid injury do not stretch if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Muscle Strains or Ligament Sprains
  • If joints or muscles are infected, inflamed, or hurt
  • After a recent fracture
  • When sharp pains are felt in the joints or muscles

If the pain in your knees is preventing you from stretching or exercising them you are not alone, nearly 50 million Americans feel the same way. However, stretching improves muscle balance around your knee joints which in turn will improve your posture and gait. Knees are the most commonly injured joints in the body. Simply walking up stairs causes the pressure across your knee joints to increase up to four times your body weight. Even daily wear and tear can end up hurting your mobility. If you already experience problems, exercising the muscles surrounding the knee joints will help make your knees stronger.

Quadriceps (front of thigh)    Hamstrings (back of thigh)

Abductor (outside thigh)       Adductor (inside thigh)

Exercise keeps your joints from stiffening and provides needed support, making movement easier and reducing pain. Visit our YouTube page to see more videos explaining simple knee strengthening and stretching exercises.

If you are currently not involved in a regular exercise regimen and are considering stretching, there are some great basic stretch exercises that you can do to relieve the tension in your body and help lengthen those tense muscle groups. You don’t even need much time to complete these stretches. By simply partaking in some simple stretching during the spare moments of your day you will be amazed at how much better and more limber you feel.

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