Body & Soul: Keep It Loose

Four reasons why you should set aside time in your busy schedule every day to stretch.

Adobe Stock ©

No matter where you fall on the flexibility spectrum, everyone—from those of us who can’t touch our toes to the most limber yogis—can benefit from stretching out more often. Despite being a practice that’s frequently overlooked due to time constraints, laziness or lack of knowledge, stretching is integral to improving our overall health. Not only does it help us physically, but it also boosts our emotional well-being. Here’s why you should incorporate stretching exercises into your daily routine:

1. Pain Relief
Whether you’re suffering from arthritis, recovering from an accident, or dealing with general pain, stretching relieves discomfort and enhances recovery. “Every muscle has a connective tissue called fascia,” explains Greg Liessner, co-owner of The Stretching Room in College Park. When fascia gets injured or locked into certain postural or movement patterns, it restricts the ability of your muscles to move and leads to pain. Liessner believes that resistance stretching (when the muscle is contracted in a short position while also being lengthened) is the best solution for dealing with pain. It engages the muscle more directly since the tension creates change in the muscle tissue and prevents overstretching. “For example, someone with bad arthritis in their hands should stretch out their hand and arm in different ways,” says Liessner. “This realigns how they use the muscles,” so it doesn’t hurt. 

2. Enhanced Workouts
It’s important to stretch before and after your workout routine. “Basically, before is to warm the muscle and prevent an injury, while after is to let the muscle fully relax and hinder any soreness,” says Andi Prather, owner of Barre3 in Winter Park. The best way to warm up your body before your fitness regimen is through active stretching—where you flow through different stretching movements instead of holding a static pose. “This warms the entire length of the muscle,” Prather explains. Post workout, stretching in stillness helps to bring your heart rate down. “Static stretches lengthen the muscles you were just contracting, which helps get the blood back in there,” Prather adds.

3. Better Focus
Certain stretches oxygenate and optimize the health of the cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. “Different muscle groups are associated with organs and physiological functions and meridians,” explains Elina Nubaryan, co-owner of The Stretching Room. Because of this, stretching can help anyone who has trouble concentrating or is dealing with attention deficit disorder. One stretch that helps boost your focus is a modified child’s pose, where you are pressing your hands into the ground to activate your arms and produce tension as you move backward.

4. Lower Stress
Usually when we’re sitting still, we’re watching TV or on our phone. Stretching allows you to focus on yourself without any distractions. “There’s a mental benefit when you take a few minutes to think about how your body feels,” says Prather. “It’s the only time of day where you can let go of all the tension.” This idea of letting everything go shifts your mindset into a calm state, lowering stress and anxiety levels.

Add your comment:
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags

Guides & Resources

Orlando's Top Chiropractors of 2018

Check out our 2017 list of some of the best chiropractors in the Orlando area.

2018 Premier Veterinarians

The 2018 Pet Guide: Pet Resource Guide

Here are some of the places you can go in Central Florida when you need supplies, products and services for your best friends.

Premier Realtors 2018

Let Orlando's best realtors help you find your dream home!

Orlando's Best Lawyers 2018

Our annual list includes hundreds of Orlando-area attorneys in dozens of areas of practice.

Orlando's Top Dentists of 2018

Our annual list featuring 224 of the area's finest dental professionals.

Guide to Private Schools 2018

Our searchable annual database will help you chart an educational course for your family.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

MoreRecent Blog Posts

FocusOn with Dr. Ahmed Sadek: Epilepsy and Surgery

When to consider surgery.

2018 Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving Dining Ideas

From restaurants to hotels to a complete meal made-from-scratch just for you and your guests, these Central Florida stops offer something for everyone this Holiday Season.

Kid Kontributor of the Month - October 2018

Read all about why Nikhilan loves "Dosa," a traditional Indian dish, and learn about our monthly feature the "Kid Kontributor of the Month."

Health Hub: Prediabetes

What You Should Know!

An Instrument of Peace

Iranian musician Kayhan Kalhor, in town for a concert with the Orlando Philharmonic, talks about his craft, the travel ban turmoil, and his beloved horses.
Edit Module