Stretching is good for the body whether you are actively exercising or not. It makes sense that we should definitely stretch before and after exercise, but what about other times, and why?
Let’s say, for instance, that you have a more sedentary job where you’re at the computer at a desk quite a bit. Much of the day is spent sitting with minimal to moderate movement outside of your SOP (standard operating position, haha!) You may experience this: a tight lower back, tight/uncomfortable hips and hamstrings (back of the leg), and achy upper back and shoulders. Likely, too, unless your posture is great at your desk, you’ll have tight chest muscles as well.
Barring any other complications and further muscle imbalances going on in your body, lower back tightness, discomfort, and pain can many times be alleviated through stretching the back and legs (all the way down to your calves) paired with core-strengthening exercises.
Our muscles get tight from sitting and moving certain ways, and stretching helps to lengthen the muscles again, improve blood flow, and increase flexibility and range of motion, making everyday life movements easier and more comfortable.
You can implement a stretching routine to help alleviate many of those discomforts and aches. If you took just 10 minutes three times a day (first thing when you wake in the morning, midday/lunchtime, and after work/before bed), and did that consistently (daily), you’d feel benefits within a month.
Let’s say, rather, that your job is quite active and you’re on your feet much of the day and are moving around a lot. You may experience: again, a tight lower back and hips as well as tight hamstrings and calves.
Typically, if one area of the body is tight, it does not only affect that area. Tight calves can pull on hamstrings, making them tight, which then pull on your glutes (your butt), which then pull on your lower back, which then also can pull on your middle and upper back. Everything is connected in the body, which is why it’s important to think of it holistically, because everything affects something else.
If your job is more active, you, too, can benefit from a 10 minute stretching routine three times a day. Again, first thing when you wake up in the morning (alleviating stiffness), middle of the day, and after work to loosen back up the body and its muscles.
As a holistic personal trainer, we are always talking with our clients about the importance and necessity of stretching, and taking them through a proper routine. Don’t skip it. In our busy, go, go, go world where we’ve got packed schedules and lots of responsibilities, taking just 10 minutes here and there throughout the day to come back to yourself and take care of your body can not only help you to feel better while doing all that you are doing, but can help you perform better while doing it.
If you’re experiencing any of what I am talking about – tight, uncomfortable hips, lower back discomfort or pain, tightness in your legs and achiness in your shoulders and these are not symptoms of a chronic issue that your doctor has told you to not exercise or something of that sort, I would love to talk with you. Reach out to us and let’s have a conversation of how we could spend some time together in implementing a stretching and strengthening routine and making it a habit for you. It can help your entire life in so many ways!