Physical activity unquestionably has many benefits for both your physical and mental health. We often do different cardiovascular or strength exercises, forgetting that a good session should also include some of the best stretches.
Stretching periodically and properly is also keep to staying in shape and getting important benefits like those that we will mention below.
Improve Your Joint Health
Doing stretches every day helps control the loss of muscle mass and improve the strength and flexibility of your tendons. It also improves your joint lubrication, which can be lost with inactivity and age.
Muscle spasms can occur at young or old age. This problem is due to poor posture or diseases like arthrosis, herniated discs, or protrusions. Stretching is great for preventing spasms.
Reduces Joint Pains
When a person spends a long time standing up, some of their muscles become stronger and more resistant. However, another muscle group gets weaker, loses strength, and resistance. Therefore, it’s very important to do stretches frequently, especially when you hold the same position for many hours.
Increase Your Athletic Performance
Stretching is essential for competitive athletes. In some sports, having more flexibility is related to good performance. In general, stretching helps improve your athletic performance because it stimulates joint mobility and prevents possible injuries.
Stretching improves strength and flexibility in elderly people. Over the years, people lose their strength and flexibility, which significantly reduces their quality of life. Stretching frequently helps keep your joints healthy and prevent age-related problems.
What Are the Best Stretches?
- Forward stretch: Sitting on the floor, with your legs stretched out, lean forward a little bit, with your back straight and your sitting bones on the floor. You should feel the stretch in the muscles of your back and back of your legs.
- Hamstring stretch: Sitting down again, roll out a mat, stretch one leg out and bend the other so that your foot is touching the other leg. Line up your hips, lean your body forward and try to touch the foot that is stretched out. Hold this position for a few seconds.
- Gluteal stretch: Sitting down, with a leg in front of the other, bend the leg in front and stretch the leg in back. Your hips should be aligned and your body should stay above the bent knee. The stretch should be felt in the leg that is bent.
- Side stretch: Sitting down with your legs crossed, lift one arm towards the opposite side of your body while you turn your upper body the same direction as your arm. Put your other hand on your waist to get some support. Your head should lean toward this shoulder. Keep your shoulders low.
- Back stretch: Fold a mat on the floor in front of you. Sit on your heels and stretch your arms toward the mat and keep your head between your arms. Hold the position for a few seconds and you will feel the stretch in your back.
- Dorsal extension: Laying down face up, put your back on a folded mat. Put your hands on your head and lean backwards, arching your back while you support your head on the floor.
- Neck stretch: Sitting on the floor with your legs crossed, weave your fingers above your head and, keeping your chin and chest apart, lower your head forward, stretching the back part of your neck.
- Quadriceps stretch: Sitting down, bend one leg forwards so that it forms a right angle. Put the other leg backwards and bend it on a mat or pillow. Take the foot from the leg in back and try to gently bring it towards your gluteal. You will the stretch without any tension.
- Side neck stretch: Sitting on your sitting bones with your legs crossed, put a hand on the opposite ear and move your head towards one side. Hold this position until you feel that you have stretched your neck and then do the same exercise towards the other side.