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5 Reasons to Stretch More

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Stretching is similar to eating fruits and vegetables. Everyone knows that consuming colorful fruits and veggies is beneficial for their health, yet it's not always a top priority. Often times the same goes for stretching. After squeezing in a quick workout or run after a long and busy day, stretching often falls to the wayside. However, if you knew just how much stretching can enhance your body and your mind, you may find yourself pulling on those limbs more frequently. This year, consider these five reasons to make a commitment to spend more time stretching.

1. Improves Flexibility 
You've probably heard this one time and time again but just how important is flexibility if you're not a professional athlete? It's actually very important. Flexibility significantly decreases your chance of injury, which is important even for those who are not typically active. For those who do workout, flexibility improves performance and enables your muscles to work more efficiently. Essentially, stretching before a long run or cardio class will allow you to get the most out of your workout.

2. Promotes Good Posture
For the majority of Americans who spend all day long sitting at a desk in one position, the spine bears a lot of weight, which in turn effects the neck, back and shoulders as well. For those who spend extended periods of time in a driver's seat, at a desk chair or in any other sitting position, slouching and hunching the shoulders becomes inevitable. Performing simple rotational stretches throughout the day will reduce tightness and promote posture.

Stretching has a number of benefits.Stretching has a number of benefits.

3. Calms Your Mind and Releases Tension
In today's fast-paced culture there's little time to slow down and breathe deeply. By taking the time to stretch out your muscles and joints and get in tune with your limbs and body, you are simultaneously allowing your mind to take a break from all of the deadlines, emails and projects. What's more is that our muscles tighten up when we become stressed or anxious but by stretching, you're able to release that built-up tension. Take full advantage of this time by unplugging all electronics, closing your eyes and being truly in the moment.

4. Reduces Soreness and Increases Nutrients
By stretching your muscles, you are increasing your body's blood flow. This helps to reduce the soreness you may feel after a particularly taxing physical activity. However, it's important to remember that stretching won't magically eliminate all soreness. But that's one of the best things about a great workout - the earned soreness you feel the next day. In addition to increasing blood flow, stretching also helps the flow of nutrients reach your muscles. This will help to promote a better recovery process.

5. Boosts Energy
Believe it or not, stretching can even give you a little boost of energy. Since it increases blood flow, stretching will invigorate your senses and make you feel more lively. After moving and stretching your muscles, you'll feel ready to conquer any hike, tennis game or road race.

This article is not intended to provide medical advice. Be sure to consult with your physician before making any changes to your exercise routine.