We are all very busy these days. We have work obligations, family obligations, and so much more that we hardly find the time to even work out. When we do muster up the time and energy to exercise, the last thing we want to do is to waste any of it. Unfortunately, that is how many people view stretching. We look at it as a waste of time and spend too little time on this vital aspect of our fitness and health.
Back pain and problems are big issues for Americans. Those hunched over in office chairs and even those who do manual labor are not immune from this. However, stretching after exercise or even throughout the day can really build on our health.
First of all, stretching improves flexibility. That is obvious the obvious point. What is not as overt is with increased ranges of motion, there are fewer injuries. It is harder to “pull a muscle” that is already used to being stretched routinely.
The pike stretch is a great one to increase flexibility in the back and even into the hamstrings that, if too tight, could put more tension on your lower back. To do this, sit on the floor with your feet together and toes pointing to the ceiling. Then keep your back and knees as straight as you can and reach for your toes. Take yourself to the point you can feel a good stretch without bouncing or making it hurt. The standing pike is also very good. Basically, it is a game of touch your toes from the standing position.
Stretching also relieves pressure. When we lift weights our muscle fibers get stronger and as we do this over time, they pull tighter too. This could throw off our body’s natural symmetry. Stretching alleviates this.
A good stretch to help with this is to simply hang from a chin up bar. Just grab the bar and allow your body to relax. If you can touch your feet to the ground, place them directly beneath the bar and arch your back. This stretches your chest and back really well.
Stretching has many benefits. Many of us neglect this, but it is vital. Good stretching even helps to increase blood flow and oxygen to muscles allowing for faster recovery times and more productive time in the gym. You do not have to believe me, but you should. Add ten minutes to your post work out for the next month for stretching and then see if you feel the benefits.