I have just come into my 30's and albeit the fact I am 10 times fitter and healthier than I was going into my 20's, my body is now telling me that I can't recover as fast as I'm used to.
I am stiff for longer & I feel the effects more when I don't stretch enough!
In my early 20's I could stretch off for 5 minutes and be on my way, but these days I need to take more care.
It could be for the fact that my workouts are harder and heavier these days as my experience has advanced, but one thing for sure is my body certainly lets me know when I haven't stretched enough.
I become tight and my muscles start to feel fatigued.
Knots build up (especially in my back) and the muscles around my hips and legs become too tight to the point I can't perform exercises properly.
AND that's exactly it!
I love my exercise and I love my heavy lifting, so when something gets in my way, it become frustrating and quite the burden.
Did you know?
Humans are the only animal on the planet that doesn't stretch when they wake up?
Strange to think, but have a good think now....
Do you have a cat or a dog?
Watch them, every time they get up from a lying position, they will stretch off before they move.
A few benefits of stretching
You will have less pain!!
I put this first simply because this is one factor that people just don't think about when they have point pain, never mind the pain you get in your muscles from them being tight anyway.
Years ago, I had problems with my knee's, went to several "specialists" that all basically told me I was faking it. I do my personal training qualification & part of the course was learning about muscle balance testing - the teacher spent about a minute with me and told me what was wrong (without me promoting may I add), and how to fix it.
Several years into my personal training career and I have has plenty of clients complaining about joint pain, within weeks on prescribing stretching, they no longer have the pain.
It improves blood flow
This is a big benefit for stretch for many reasons really. Increase blood flow means you are getting more oxygen and nutrients around the body faster for;
- Increased energy levels
- Improved muscle recovery
- Improves cellular repair
It improves balance & co-ordination
Stretching helps to activate your stability muscles in the core and increases your mind-muscle co-ordination.
It releases stress
Think about it.... when you're muscles are tight, it creates a negative feeling and that negative feeling creeps into your mindset.
A lot of people go for massages to help relax. Massaging is just someone else "stretching" the muscle out to release the tension trapped inside.
You become more flexible
Flexibility may not be a huge priority to most, but for those who exercise, it can greatly improve your performance. More flexibility also means, less risk of injury too.