Why I Love Stretching
Stretching and maintaining flexibility in my muscles is a big part of my daily fitness routine. However, I've noticed that stretching is an area of wellbeing that is little thought about and easily neglected amongst gym-obsessed and sedentary people alike. So, to try and raise the profile on stretching, I thought I'd share with you the top few reasons why I love to stretch and what my current stretch routine looks like!
it keeps my muscles supple
Our bodies are designed to move. But in a world where most of us spend a lot of time sitting down, we've forgotten our primal need to be active and nimble. I make it a non-negotiable in my life to include stretching into my daily routine. By stretching, I allow my muscles to stay loose and limber, which is an ideal trait to have - particularly as I get older and spend more time in front of my computer! Additionally, if you do take the time for exercise every day (which we should all be!), adding a stretch onto the end of your workout will lengthen your muscles out after being held tense and tight during the training session.
it decreases pain
Stretching can reduce the impact of pain and fatigue on our bodies - a win-win! As mentioned above, as we age and become less mobile, with it often comes join and muscle pains. Incorporating simple stretches into your day will allow your body to gently move and stretch and can be hugely effective in minimising pain (ever wonder why yoga is the miracle cure for so many ailments?!). Also, for those of us exercising everyday, I find stretching allows my muscles to recover quicker. Tying in with the first point, by stretching my muscles after a workout, I'm able to get those tense muscles relaxed sooner and aid in keeping them long and loose. Getting the tension out seems to really help decrease the muscle tenderness that comes with recovery!
it's a form of relaxation
I love nothing more than finishing a workout with a stretch. To be honest, it's possibly my favourite part of a workout! The big reason for this is I've made it my time to relax and unwind. Almost like a reward for the exercise I've just completed! I consider it a few moments of 'me time', where I scroll through social media, watch a video or read. Doing this also distracts me from the pain that usually comes with stretching (though I've come to a point where I've grown to enjoy the subtle pain of stretching muscles, even this sensation can be quite relaxing if you allow it to be!)
Like anything in life, if you create a positive habit around something, over time it can become quite enjoyable. I love to stretch and love the feeling of loose and limber muscles - particularly after a hard training session or long, exhausting day at work. Plus, being able to do the splits can make for a great party trick!
my current stretch routine
I made a video detailing what my current combination of stretches looks like. I follow this routine every day! I'm currently focusing on increasing my range of movement in my hamstrings and hip flexors, whilst also aiming to improve my middle splits.
Happy stretching beauties, and remember that we're all at different stages with flexibility - don't push beyond your limits! A little stretching everyday goes a long way in the long term. Stay patient and persistent and you'll notice an improvement in no time!
p.s. From June, I'll be starting 'Stretchy Sunday' video uploads on my YouTube channel. If you're keen to see more stretch related tips and tricks, be sure to subscribe to Kisarhi on YouTube!