Saturday, November 04, 2006


The Benefits of Stretching

From Babyfit

As you age, your muscles tighten and range of motion in the joints can be minimized. This can put a damper on active lifestyles and even hinder day-to-day, normal motions. Tasks that used to be simple, such as zipping up a dress or reaching for a can off of the top shelf, now become extremely difficult. A regular stretching program can help lengthen your muscles and make daily living activities easier.

Once you become pregnant, tremendous changes happen to your body to allow for the growth and birth of your child. This becomes possible through postural changes that are made easier by increased hormones that allow your ligaments to loosen and stretch. As your body’s posture changes, some muscles will tighten and others will loosen. This causes a great need for flexibility exercises for the tightening muscles, which can help to prevent aches and pains caused by these changes.

Everyone can learn to stretch, regardless of age or flexibility. Stretching should be a part of your daily routine, whether you exercise or not. There are simple stretches you can do while watching TV, on the computer, or getting ready for bed. If you are doing strength training exercises, stretch in between sets. It feels good and saves time from stretching at the end of the workout!

It does not have to involve a huge time commitment, but stretching can end up giving you huge results! Here are just a few of the benefits you can expect from a regular stretching program:
  • Reduced muscle tension
  • Injury prevention
  • Increased range of movement in the joints
  • Enhanced muscular coordination
  • Increased circulation of the blood to various parts of the body
  • Increased energy levels (resulting from increased circulation)

Stretching is important for people of all ages. Improving flexibility leads to an increased range of movement, which means your limbs and joints can move further before an injury occurs. Stretching can help to prevent an injury by promoting recovery and decreasing soreness and ensures that your muscles and tendons are in good working order. The more conditioned your muscles and tendons are, the better they can handle the rigors of 40 weeks of pregnancy changes, delivery, and prenatal and postpartum exercise, and the less likely that they'll become injured.

Stretching comes naturally to all of us. You might notice that if you have been sitting in a particular position for a long time, you stretch unconsciously. It feels good! In addition to that good feeling, a consistent stretching program will produce large gains in flexibility and joint movement. Be kind to your muscles and they will be kind to you!

Comment: Even small children need to do this.

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