One could say that stretching can be likened to flossing; it’s something we should do everyday for our overall health, yet it’s often neglected and overlooked in an attempt to make the best use of our time. However, maintaining good flexibility is essential for injury prevention, having good posture, improving range of motion and avoiding premature aging of your overall body.
Stretching can be done anywhere at anytime, doesn’t require fancy equipment or even athletic clothing. Just taking ten minutes a day can make you feel taller, look slimmer, and keep you light-years away from arthritis, osteoporosis and can prevent other joint injuries related to sports. Although it’s been debated for decades, the current research suggests that stretching should be completed at the end of your training or physical activity as part of your cool down and not necessarily before. However, a gradual warm up is equally important before activity in order to prevent injury.
Even on your “off days” one should stretch each major muscle group at least once, holding between 20-30 seconds. Stretching should provide a light tension in the muscle, which should feel good, and never painful.
Although it may be easy to place stretching at the bottom of your list of exercise priorities, especially when time is of the essence, it is an essential component to your health and well-being, and perhaps the key to maintaining a youthful, mobile body throughout the years.