Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Simple Stretching Makes You Feel Great

Don't have time to work out?  Why not try stretching?  It can be done anywhere and your body will thank you.  Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds. It takes time to lengthen tissues safely. Hold your stretches for at least 30 seconds.  For most of your muscle groups, if you hold the stretches for at least 30 seconds, you'll need to do each stretch only once.

Benefits of stretching include:

Increased flexibility and better range of motion of your joints -  Flexible muscles can improve your daily performance. Tasks such as lifting packages, bending to tie your shoes or hurrying to catch a bus become easier and less tiring. Flexibility tends to diminish as you get older, but you can regain and maintain it.

Improved circulation - Stretching increases blood flow to your muscles. Blood flowing to your muscles brings nourishment and gets rid of waste byproducts in the muscle tissue. Improved circulation can help shorten your recovery time if you've had any muscle injuries.

Better posture - Frequent stretching can help keep your muscles from getting tight, allowing you to maintain proper posture. Good posture can minimize discomfort and keep aches and pains at a minimum.

Stress relief - Stretching relaxes tight, tense muscles that often accompany stress.  Maintaining the full range of motion through your joints keeps you in better balance. Coordination and balance will help keep you mobile and less prone to injury from falls, especially as you get older.

Basic stretches improve your flexibility on your body's major muscle groups: calf, thigh, hip, lower back, neck and shoulder.