While the human body is flexible by design, as we get older, we tend to become less limber than we were in our earlier days. Simple things that we used to do without even noticing, like reaching for something, or bending over to pick something up, can become more difficult as we age. And if you’re like many people, and don’t exercise regularly, you may notice even more stiffness and loss of flexibility than others. So what can we do to improve our flexibility, even if we’re not into doing regular exercise? The answer is simple – stretching exercises provided by your Vancouver chiropractor!
Stretching exercises are such an important part of keeping the body in good shape, yet can be done almost anywhere, and at any time. If you have any doubts about how effective stretching is, do a little research. You’ll find that stretching is almost always a part of any physical therapy treatment, chiropractic treatment, massage, or any other type of rehabilitative treatment. And of course, athletes know that they must always stretch dynamically before performing their sport.
This article will look at the different types of stretches and the benefits of stretching that will help you to feel younger and more flexible.
Easy Stretching Exercises
Here are some of the easiest stretching exercises that can be done wherever you are – at home, sitting in a park, maybe even at work if you have room. If you’re unsure of how to perform each exercise, videos and pictures can easily be Googled.
- Hamstring stretch
- Butterfly groin stretch
- Lying hip stretch
- Lying quad stretch
- Calf stretch
- Shoulder stretch
- Triceps stretch
There are many more stretching exercises our chiropractors can recommend, but the list above is a great start.
How to Start
As noted above, you can easily find videos and pictures of how to perform each stretching exercise. A general rule of thumb when you first begin, is to take it slowly. Try out a few different exercises, and take your time so that you don’t strain your muscles too quickly. As you learn how your body reacts to each type of stretching, you can increase your repetitions, and add in more exercises and gradually build up to a regular daily routine. And don’t forget, even if you’re having a super busy day, you can fit a few of these in even while you’re sitting at your desk at work!
Benefits of Stretching Exercises
With regular stretching, your flexibility will increase and you’ll be able to do all the things you used to when you were younger, without aches or pains. As you continue to stretch your muscles, they’ll grow more accustomed to those movements that had become difficult.
Better Range of Movement
As your body begins to limber up, your range of movement will improve as well. You’ll be able to bend, squat, turn and reach with ease and your head and neck will seem to turn with ease.
Better Overall Circulation
Stretching helps to increase blood flow to your muscles and joints, so the more you do it, the better your muscles and joints will function.
Ease Muscle Stress and Tension
The more you exercise and stretch your muscles, the less they will seize up and cause aches and pains. Just like a car, keeping your body in top condition with regular movements and ‘tune ups’ will help it to last for a lot longer than if you didn’t.
When your body is tense and tight, not only does it cause aches and pains, but it makes you more susceptible to injuries such as sprains or strains. Your muscles are designed to be a certain length when you’re moving. By performing stretching exercises regularly, you’ll ensure that your muscles are in the correct position and are the correct length, thereby avoiding injuries.
Most of us have experienced an achy neck or painful lower back from time to time. And while stretching might seem like a painful thing to do when you feel this type of pain, stretching will actually help to reduce your symptoms. And with less pain, we tend to have better posture.
Stretching may seem like a low end type of exercise, but you’ll be surprised at how much strength you gain when you give your muscles the kind of workout that stretching provides.
Increased Stamina and Energy
As your body beings to function like a well-oiled machine, you will feel a return of energy and stamina. Tasks that used to cause pain and take forever to complete will now happen with ease.
The fact is, when your muscles are not being used, blood can pool around them, causing a sluggish feeling throughout your body. The sluggishness is caused by a lack of blood flow to the muscles, which decreases muscle nourishment. As soon as you get moving again, your blood will flow better, your muscles will be nourished, and your energy levels will increase. Particularly for people who are overweight and lead a sedentary lifestyle, the doctor’s admonishment to ‘get up and move and you’ll feel better’ is especially true.
Have you ever tossed and turned all night trying to get comfortable, but your body just aches and won’t allow you to get a decent night’s sleep? With a little stretching every day, your body will begin to repair itself, and just as during the day you’ll have more stamina and energy, your body will know when it’s time to rest. Without pain and muscle tension, you’ll be able to get a great night’s sleep.
If you’re female, you’ll be happy to know that studies show that post-menopausal women report a much better quality and length of sleep after they’ve begun a daily regimen of stretching exercises.
As you can see, there are many benefits to performing simple stretching exercises each day. Best of all, stretching is a no-impact type of exercise that you can do just about anywhere. It doesn’t get any more convenient than that! If you have any questions about any of the mentioned exercises or recommended stretches, our chiropractors are ready and available to answer your questions!