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Posted on 07-11-2012

Good Morning!

A good stretch can leave you relaxed and calm. It’s also a great way to lengthen muscles and improve overall fitness and flexibility.

Physical Benefits
Sure, we’ll stretch before or after a workout, but what about during the rest of the day (particularly while in static positions)? It’s critical to find ways to sneak in a few minutes throughout the day to stretch. The physical benefits are outstanding.

As we age, our muscles tighten and our range of motion is often minimized. Over the years, day-to-day activities may slow down and motions may stiffen. Routine stretching promotes flexibility, balance and muscle lengthening.

If your job or daily routine doesn’t allow you to keep moving all day, there are great stretches you may do while sitting at your desk. Every hour, practice these stretches for one to two minutes:

  • Placing your ankle on your opposite knee and hinge forward. You’ll give your back and hip a great stretch. Switch legs.

  • Place your legs apart and knees out to the side. Then hinge forward to get an inner-thigh and back stretch.

  • Sitting for long periods of time often hurts the lower back. Stand behind your chair with your hands on your chair. Walk a few steps back, arch your back and pull backwards keeping your hands on your chair. Your lower back should feel the stretch.

Mental Benefits
Stretching does not only benefit your muscles, but it can help you relax and manage stress.

Incorporating breathing and stretching techniques is also a great way to help those who have trouble getting to sleep and waking up. Whether you’re going to bed or welcoming the morning, try these techniques to promote relaxation:

•    Before climbing into bed, reach for your toes or reach for the sky. Stretching helps to rest your muscles.
•    While lying in bed, practice deep breaths. Ease into a breathing pace and take note of how you’re breathing. You should start to unwind and get tired.
•    After you wake up, stand as tall as you can and reach for the sky to feel a total-body stretch.
•    While getting ready in the bathroom, grab hold of the counter or sink and walk away from it. You’ll feel your back stretching.

With little time, you’ll see huge results if you continue to stretch daily. Try squeezing in stretches before work, every hour during work and in the evening to reap the full benefits of balance, flexibility and relaxation.  Look to stretch throughout the day and identify areas of inflexibility so you can work on them to prevent injury!

Have a blessed day!

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