Are you constantly under stress? Is stress taking a toll on your body and mind? If so, stretching can help.
Everyone knows stress is bad. Thus, learning how to destress is essential. Exercise is a good stress-relieving activity, but it is often time-consuming. This is where stretching comes in. Spending a few minutes practicing simple, soothing stretches may be a terrific way to relieve stress and show your body some extra love. Some people may even find that stretching and breathing are more calming than a glass of wine (or two)!
Continue reading to find out why you should consider stretching and how to get started.
How Often Should You Stretch?
Ideally, you should make time to stretch at least twice a day. It may seem like a lot, but a full stretching routine can be completed in as little as ten minutes. This is not to say you won’t experience its benefits if you can’t stick to a twice-daily routine. Even just a few sessions of stretching scattered over a week can be helpful.
Let’s discuss the benefits of stretching in more detail.
#1: Enforces Controlled Deep Breathing
Have you ever wondered why breathing deeply helps you stay centered in a stressful situation? It is because the rate and intensity of your breath have a direct impact on how you feel. Stretching exercises force you to control your breath as you change and maintain positions, thus, building your ability to master your breath and mood.
In fact, deep breathing exercises are an excellent way to start your stretching workouts. Luckily, they are very simple to perform. Begin in a comfortable position, such as lying down or sitting, and put one hand on your stomach and one on your chest. Then, deeply inhale through your nose, filling your belly with air. Finish by exhaling slowly through your mouth. You can even carry over this pattern of breathing into your stretching routine for maximum effect.
#2: Increases Blood Circulation
Stretching enhances blood supply to your muscles and joints, allowing for more nutrient supply and better blood circulation throughout your entire body.
Furthermore, stretching can also prevent heart disease. Following a long-term stretching program and following a healthy diet can help lower cholesterol levels. Reduced cholesterol levels, in turn, can help prevent and even reverse artery hardening and, subsequently, heart disease.
#3: Reduces Pain
Stretching your muscles after a hard workout helps reduce the shortening and tightening effect that can cause post-workout aches and pains.
Stretching also improves your range of motion, which may help decrease joint degeneration and chronic pain. This is because a flexible body increases overall performance by making more energy-efficient movements. In addition, flexibility in the hamstrings, hip flexors, and pelvic muscles decreases tension on the lumbar spine, lowering your risk of low-back pain.
#4: Helps Practice Self Care; Taking Time for Yourself
Muscles contract when people are stressed. As a result of these muscle contractions, you have a physiological and emotional sense of general unease.
When you notice these sensations, try stretching because it helps relax stiff muscles. Stretching has also been found to raise the production of endorphins, a natural body component that promotes feelings of joy and peace.
It doesn’t matter when you stretch. Stretching when you wake up is a terrific way to start the day, and stretching before bedtime will help you sleep better. Around mid-afternoon, most people feel a little drowsy. If this applies to you, try out some stretches. Stretching can counteract these mid-afternoon slumps by providing an energy boost.
At Kilian Chiropractic, our purpose is to improve the quality of life of individuals and families. If you are interested in finding more ways to destress and feel better physically and mentally, call us at 604-688-0724 or contact us on our website today.