Who has found themselves stuck in the same position most of the day without even realizing it?
It is easy to get caught up in the moment or through your workday and look down and realize you have spent hours sitting in one position or started to slouch throughout the day.
Stretching is not limited to a pre or post-workout activity. It is indeed so vital for you to take the time to try throughout your workday, especially if your job is sedentary and you spend most of the day glued to your devices.
Stretching is a super-easy way to have a mini-break throughout your workday, stimulate muscle movement, improve circulation and blood flow through your entire body, and oxygen flow to the brain. It requires zero equipment and takes less than 10 mins! No excuses why you can't do this.
Setting an egg timer or timer on your phone to go off every couple of hours throughout the day is an excellent way to remind yourself to get up and get moving!
Stretching can be done at your own pace, depending on your flexibility. To maintain a solid stretch, you want to be holding the movement for at least 90 seconds.
If you're feeling any specific tight areas, they are probably causing tension and stress. Stretching can help tame anxiety both physically as well as mentally. Stretching should never be forced if you feel the pain you want to stretch slowly to have that tightness loosened up first.
The Health and Mental Benefits From Stretching
Flexibility: Your muscles are elastic, the more you move them and stretch, the more nimble they will become. Continued and consistent stretches can drastically improve your flexibility. Yoga and pilates are great low impact workouts that you can try or do basic stretches at home, like touching your toes every morning.
Posture: As you perform stretches, you are putting your muscles to work! Muscles get stronger by doing, and as you are strengthening them, you can notice visible differences in your posture. Have you ever seen an athlete or dancer with bad posture? It's quite rare. As stretching relieves tension from your back muscles and lower lumbar regions, you will have an easier time sitting straighter and standing taller.
Injury Prevention: As discussed above, stretching keeps your body flexible, and being flexible can also reduce the risk of injuries, especially at trigger points like knees and ankles. Stretching after performing activities like running or playing a group sport can also be an integral part of an injury prevention plan.
Calmed Mind: Taking mini stretch breaks can also force your mind to disconnect from running wild and ease your thinking. As your body is physically moving slower, your mind will also follow that pace calming your mind, reducing fatigue, stress, and anxiety while focusing on your breathing and releasing tension in your muscles. Stretching also encourages the release of endorphins (the "feel-good" chemical), providing a sense of euphoria throughout your body.
Increased Energy: As we already know, stretching allows for an increased blood and oxygen flow throughout the body, you will feel refreshed, but also your energy levels will be increased too. Instead of getting up to make that third cup of coffee, try stretching instead and compare how you feel.
Stretching can be done anywhere, even from the comfort of your chair. Our body can move many ways, and exploring those options through stretch can be crucial to being more productive and positive throughout your workday.