Stretch is my absolute favorite part of health and exercise, so why is it so hard to make it a priority? Flexibility is only one of the many benefits of stretching! But in our everyday, busy lives, something is amiss when it comes to making stretch a priority.
As I write this, I am hunched over a computer working busily to help people with my passion and can get so engulfed in my mission that I forget to look after myself! Sometimes I actually have to set a timer to remind myself to get up, walk around and stretch! Nevertheless, stretch is a remarkable way to get the blood pumping to your brain, to deliver the life-giving oxygen to your muscles and organs via the lymph and blood system, to release feel-good endorphins from deep breathing which also cleanses the body and mind! The fact that you become more flexible in the process is just icing on the cake!
Why do we need flexibility? When muscles tense or tighten, they shorten. Muscles are
connected to bone, so think about how that must affect the skeletal system! Simply put, tight muscles will pull on the bones, causing your body to come out of alignment. In other words, hip joints get jacked up closer to the ribs, sometimes on one side more than the other causing pain in the SI joint or sciatica. Shoulder muscles reduce their range of motion, making it easier to tear or injure from a quick sudden movement. Tight quads or hamstrings pull on the pelvic bone causing it to tilt excessively in one direction. This not only affects your posture and messaging system, but also causes low back pain and may even progress into serious back injuries. Tight chest muscles from texting or computer work creates a hunched posture which then obstructs the airway, creating a lack of oxygen to the cells in the brain, muscles and other organs. These cells need oxygen to produce energy. Without going to into the whole science of the brain and neurons and a very scientific process, let’s just remember, our cells, neurons and the entire nervous system requires oxygen to function optimally. Breathing and stretching are a superb way to help increase that flow to the system.
Here are a few simple stretches you can do in just a few minutes to hit the major muscle groups. If you can hold these for 30 seconds each while breathing, even better! And remember, never stretch a cold muscle! Always move a little before to warm it up and if it hurts, it is your body’s safe way of telling you, “That’s enough, don’t go any further!” Heed it. 🙂 Happy Stretching! — <3 Stacy
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