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Remember that if you have any injuries or specific health concerns, always check with your physician before beginning an exercise or stretching routine. Your physician can also help you by providing specific stretching exercises for your condition.
For those of us without specific injuries or conditions – gentle stretching does the body good! Here are my top five reasons for stretching my muscles after a workout, or gently throughout the day, and for making sure that gentle stretching is a part of every BeyondBarre workout I teach:
1. Staying limber
Even if you consider yourself physically active, most of us sit the majority of the day. Sitting is tough on your body. Gently stretches help to keep your muscles limber and can reduce injury and pain that results from tight muscles when you engage in your regular exercise.
2. Do your back a favor
Few would argue that spine health and flexibility is paramount to wellness. The healthier and pain-free our spines are, the more active we can be – which generally helps us our overall well-being in ways too numerous to list! Gentle stretches can help keep your spine limber and better support your body for healthy activity.
3. Stretch for Balance
Many of us favor a side of our body when active – for a variety of reason such as repetitive actions like carrying your purse on one side of your body, or carrying a young child on a favored hip. These repetitive actions can lead to muscle tightness that throws off your balance. Gentle stretches can help restore the flexibility and balance to your muscles and activities.
4. Stress Relief
Life can be stressful. Who hasn’t felt the tightness creep into their neck and shoulders when huddled over work at a computer or over a desk when paying bills. Gentle stretching is a great way to undo the tension and stiffness that we feel during periods of stress. Seems too simple to be true, but it works!
5. Get your blood pumping!
Most of us think of cardio as the best way to get our hearts and blood pumping, and although this is true, gentle stretching does promote circulation. Stretching increases blood flow to our joints and muscles and increases circulation throughout our entire body.
Want to keep it simple?
Check out these simple and gentle stretching and flexibility exercises as recommended by the American Heart Association.