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Think back to your elementary school years, when you are in gym class before you got to do any of the fun stuff, what did you have to do? If your teacher were like 99% of other gym teachers out there, they would have made you do your stretches. And believe it or not, it wasn't for no reason! Stretching has a long list of benefits for your body. Unfortunately, as we start to reach adulthood, most of us leave stretching behind. Luckily, it's never too late to bring it back into our lives and reap the benefits. And if you haven't stretched in a while, now is the time to start. Here's why:
1) It will help your balance
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You might not have lost your balance yet, but as we start to age, this is definitely something that we have to think about. They say, "if you don't use it you lose it," and nothing could be more true when it comes to our balance. If we stop using our balance, we will eventually become susceptible to falls and accidents. So what can you do to improve your balance? You can start with stretching! In one study of 42 college students, the research found that those who stretched before performing a balance exercise performed significantly better than those who did no stretching at all. Why does it work? It's thought that stretching can help to improve fine-muscle co-ordination, which in turn can help with balance.
2) It will pep you up
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Ever wonder how morning people do it? They arrive at the office peppy and refreshed every morning, and don't even have a coffee in their hand. Well, they might be doing their stretches in the morning! According to science, just a few minutes of stretching each morning can help to boost your energy and help you feel less sluggish. How does it work? Stretching doesn't just stretch your muscles, it also helps to circulate blood throughout your entire body, and yes, this includes the brain. So just a few minutes of stretching each morning could help turn you into a morning person. But the best part? Stretching isn't just for mornings. If you start feeling sluggish throughout the day, just take a short break for some stretching. It will re-boost your system and make you ready to get back to work.
3) It prevents injury
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As a child, you probably already had great balance, along with a lot of energy. So why did you need to stretch? Most teachers instruct children to stretch to prevent injury. When we exercise, our muscles are constantly contracting and tightening. This leaves us prone to injury, regardless of our age. But when we stretch, we "warm" our muscles. This helps to loosen them up, prepare them for exercise, and reduce the risk of injuring ourselves.
4) It reduces pain
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Did you know that you can often reduce aches and pains simply by stretching? Unfortunately, many pain treatment therapies often overlook this valuable tool for pain relief. How does stretching help with pain? In several ways actually. Firstly, stretching helps to increase your flexibility. This lengthens muscles, improves your range of movement, and thereby loosens up the muscles that can trigger a pain cycle. Secondly, stretching enhances circulation and blood flow, which helps to relieve muscle knots that can also cause pain. In addition, stretching can reduce pain by improving your posture, promoting oxygen flow (which promotes healing), and helping the body to relax.
5) It improves your workout
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We all know by now that stretching can help to improve our flexibility, which can improve our range of motion. And when our range of motion is improved, so are our workouts. Why? A better range of motion means you can lunge deeper, jump higher, and squat lower, which will, in turn, make your workout more effective.
6) It lowers blood sugar levels
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In a study of adults with Type 2 diabetes, one group was instructed to stretch after drinking a sugary drink, and the other group was instructed against stretching. The research found that those who stretched after intaking sugar had lower blood sugar levels than those who didn't. In return, we can make the assumption that stretching could be a very valuable tool for those who have high blood sugar counts.
7) It lowers stress levels
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Stress is an inevitable part of our daily lives, but it's also the number one cause of illness and disease. As such, we need to do everything we can to keep our stress levels to a minimum. Stretching can help. Not only does stretching help to promote blood flow which can help to relieve stress, but it also stimulates receptors in the nervous system that reduce the production of stress hormones. So if you're feeling stressed out, take a short stretch break to rejuvenate yourself and relax your mind and body.
8) It improves posture
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There are so many benefits that are associated with good posture. Not only does good posture make us more attractive to others, but it also improves our breathing, aides in circulation, boosts your mood, reduces back pain, and promotes a healthy spine. And stretching is one of the best ways to improve your posture!
So what can you do to reap the benefits of stretching? Here are some tips:
• Set aside time to stretch for at least 10 minutes each day. Stretch in the morning if you need a little energy boost, or on a work break if you need a re-boost.
• Hold your stretches for between 10 -30 seconds for maximum benefit
• Breathe normally when stretching
• Speak to a doctor if you are worried about injury
Come check out our weStretch stretching service! weStretch is a new fitness place in Central focusing on assisted stretching and sports massage, based on globally accepted techniques. Many of us experience muscle pain or soreness in parts of our body all the time - prolonged lower back pain due to poor posture and neck stiffness from long working hours, from spending too much time in front of the computers and mobile phones. Some of us overuse certain muscle groups from extensive gym workout or repetitive motion during a particular sport exercise. Our Ambassadors are here to strengthen weak muscles, loosen tight muscles, correct posture and help you feel better pre and post exercise.
Our opening hours are Monday to Sunday 10am to 8pm! We are located at 13/F, Wong Chung Ming Commercial House,16 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong. Call us for a quick session booking: +852 2328-7000!
And finally, remember that stretching should never be painful. If you are experiencing pain during a stretch, you may be pushing yourself too far, or you are doing it wrong. Consult a doctor if you are unsure of how to stretch correctly, but don't give up on stretching. The benefits it will have on your health and body are immense!