Bend But Not Break

The Benefits of Stretching

The alarm clock rings and your feet hit the floor. It’s “Go Time!” Go to work, go to school, go, go, go. It might be hard for you to slow down, but what if I told you that you can actually go faster, run farther, and become stronger if you just slow down. Get the most from your workout and really benefit your whole self; mind, body and soul. In just 15 minutes a day you can achieve more than you thought you could.

Mind:

Reduce your stress, naturally. Think about how you feel after a good stretch. You are automatically relaxed and feeling happy. Now, imagine that feeling happening several times a day and lasting a little longer each time. A relaxed mind is better able to think clearly and decisively than a tense, stressed mind. Improve your happy! Your mental state calms because when you stretch, your body releases the hormone dopamine and in return your body calms and is ready to accept the next activity. Use this time to clear your head and ready yourself for the next task.

Body:

Stretching will naturally improve your flexibility. Flexibility allows your muscles to take the stress of more vigorous activities. If your body can bend, it’s less likely to break. Stretching lengthens your muscles by working out knots in a gentle way to prepare the muscles for more vigorous activity. Strength and Athletic Performance-You can train harder when your muscles, joints, and connective tissues (ligaments and tendons) are relaxed, fluid and supple. Stretching gently lubricates the connective tissue areas reducing bone to bone friction. In turn, the muscles respond better when they are not overly stressed. Stretching relieves unnecessary tension allowing your body to reach peak athletic performance. Injury Prevention- Stretching improves balance, coordination and posture. Proper stretching can help prevent serious injury.

Soul:

Stretching is not only an activity for your muscles it’s an activity for your inner self. As your body quiets your soul speaks. Meditate, pray, or just have a few minutes of quiet time for yourself and only yourself. Meditating through stretches gives your body something to do as your inner self begins to communicate. Think about your personal accomplishments, plan your future goals and how to achieve them and instantly improve your inner being. Think about how to help and encourage others and your spirit is paying it forward.

Stretching is different for different people. Some may respond well to a class dedicated to stretching the body and quieting the mind, like yoga. It’s organized, it’s led, and it progresses the body through more and more difficult poses. You may be more comfortable discussing your needs with a professional for a more targeted and individual approach. Whatever your activity level or style, consider adding basic stretches to your daily activities and watch your performance soar.

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