Stretching: Easy, Relaxing and Free!

In a world of high intensity fitness regimes, stressful work environments and generally busy lifestyles it is sometimes easy to forget that one of the best ways to relax and unwind is simple, and costs nothing.

One of the gentlest and most accessible ways of relieving muscle tension, stress and pain is by utilising straight forward stretches either as part of a class or on your own at home. Without any need for equipment or even the need to set aside large amounts of time, this form of exercise is ideal for everyone and anyone.

Stretching is a great exercise for all ages and ranges of mobility as it can be easily tailored to each person. While some people may prefer to practice more difficult yoga moves, somebody else may benefit simply from stretching out their arm and leg muscles, by lengthening their necks and doing gentle spinal twists.

Reducing Tension Build Up

Often after a long day of sitting at a desk or standing with few breaks, our bodies can tighten up and this may result in causing us to feel tense and uncomfortable. Tension carried in the upper body, such as the shoulders and neck can also become the cause of painful headaches. Practicing stretches can help reduce such tension and help to restore muscles to their normal mobility.

Helping You to Unwind

As well as helping with muscle tension, stretching is also a simple way to unwind after a long day or as a form of moving meditation. This can help towards lowering stress levels and reducing anxiety. Stretching is also a good way of improving poor posture- something which unfortunately can contribute to back pain later on. Being able to stand straight and tall helps to protect the spine and help avoid injuries. Other benefits such as improved circulation is also an excellent side effect of such simple movements.

Improving Flexibility

Stretching should not be painful or cause discomfort. The idea is to gently activate the muscles, being able to feel that they are being lengthened, but without any sharp pains or cramps. This kind of exercise is great for getting more in touch with how our bodies move and what our mobility is like, as well as highlighting where tensions are held. It is a great way of improving flexibility whilst keeping our joints and muscles strong.

Pay Attention to Your Body

It is important, however to make sure we are not stretching beyond what is comfortable for us and to pay close attention to joints which feel particularly sore. Making sure to stretch out on both sides of our bodies also ensures we are not tighter on one side than the other. While stretching either in a class or along with a tutorial, it is important to remember that everyone’s bodies and limitations are different and to be mindful about how you are feeling at the time and not to push yourself too far, causing injury.

For more information on how stretching can be beneficial in yoga and meditation please click the link.