Archive for January 21st, 2020

Why you should be stretching everyday!

January 21, 2020

If you’re like me, then stretching is probably the last thing on your list of priorities.  We know stretching has a lot of benefits, etc., but we’ve never committed to it long enough to truly see a difference.  Going forward, let’s change our habits and incorporate stretching into our daily routines.  I say WE because I am writing this to myself as well!

I am now living proof of the consequences of years of neglecting my flexibility.  Like most things that come easy when you’re young, they’re taken for granted.

Aside from our regular exercise routine, it is likely that we aren’t doing things that are beneficial for our bodies, physically.  The average American spends 13 hours a day sitting while working miscellaneous tasks (and probably slouched in front of the computer), in addition to the eight or so hours that they sleep each night.   Wow!

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One important consequence of reduced flexibility that I’d like to touch on, is muscle imbalance which in turn, leads to reduced mobility and pain.  Over time, our muscles adapt to the positions they are in most. (How likely are you the woman on the left?)  For example, if we spend most of our time in front of the computer, our neck muscles will adapt to that forward head position you see above.

Forward head posture increases the workload for many of the muscles attached to the cervical spine (neck), which has the job of holding up our head. Over time, forward head posture can lead to muscle imbalances as the body tries to adapt and find efficient ways to hold the head up for straight-ahead vision. Some muscles become elongated and weakened, whereas other muscles become shorter and tighter.

Here are my 3 favorite exercises/stretches to help realign the head and help prevent that unwanted forward head posture:
https://www.spine-health.com/video/3-easy-neck-exercises-neck-pain-video

During the day, we simply don’t put our bodies in enough unique positions to truly loosen up and warm up our muscles. This type of neglect can cause problems during specific forms of exercise, or simply just make it harder to complete everyday tasks such as bending down to pick up things or reaching for things in hard to reach spots.  (We will touch on another unsightly posture tomorrow.  Here’s a hint: “Shoulders back, chest out!”

Luckily, years of neglect can be mostly washed away by adopting a stretching routine into your daily schedule. It doesn’t even need to take all day, either. Proper stretching can be achieved by just doing it for ten minutes a day.  That is such a short time period that it can be done in the morning before work, during a work break, or even right before you go to bed.

Happy stretching!!!!