Day 198-Wednesday’s Medical Minute-The Many Benefits of Stretching

I wish there was a way to tie in my subject matter for today with the fabulous Valentine’s Day I had yesterday, but since there isn’t, I’m just going to mention that first! Whether you saw my bragging on Facebook or not, I just have to show you the lovely present my hubby bought me, along with more flowers, followed by a yummy dinner at Fresco’s Mexican Cantina.

My gold dipped rose from Steven Singer Jewelry
My gold dipped rose from Steven Singer Jewelry
This is a gold dipped rose from Ihatestevensinger.com, a truly unique gift that surprised and delighted me-one that I will cherish forever. It is a perfect red rose, dipped in 24K gold, it will never die, and every day I look at it, I will remember how special this Valentines Day was, just as if it was a piece of jewelry. (Which it is in a way) It comes from Steven Singer Jewelry and was delivered in a gold box with a special message inside. You can get a whole bouquet (one at a time for special occasions) because there are 11 more roses of different colors in the collection. I loved it and tried to make his day special as well. Of course, he is still healing, so there was no hanky panky yet, but I made his cookies and egg cups for the week, washed his clothes and got him a card and two pairs of comfy pants, since his pants are still causing him pain when he sits and the seams press on sensitive areas.

Aright, lets get to today’s post and the benefits of stretching. We all know that stretching is important, whether you sit all day or need to work out on a regular basis, stretching offers many benefits and is a healthy habit we all need to be practicing.

Greater strength- stretching increases strength by improving circulation and blood flow to your muscles, which helps muscles recover after a workout and provides nutrients to the muscles. This increased blood flow also helps prevent soreness and muscle fatigue during recovery periods.

More Flexibility- as we grow older, our muscles shorten and tighten. stretching improves range of motion decreases the chance of injury to tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissues. Be careful not to over do it though, that can also lead to injury as people sometimes do in Yoga.

Good for Circulation- lengthening and loosening the muscles will help with greater circulation which improves overall health. Better circulation helps promote cell growth and organ function, lowers the heart rate and stabilizes blood pressure.

Reduces Stress- stretching relieves tension and also releases endorphins in the brain that cause feelings of calm and well being. Stretching the muscles around the neck and shoulders in the evening will help you get a good night’s sleep.

Increased Range of Motion- the best way to increase range of motion is by stretching, which will also improve balance and help prevent injury and improve athletic performance. Stretching allows for a more complete workout whether it’s swimming, jogging or lifting, increased range of motion allows for better form and muscle recruitment.

We all know as writers that sitting all day hunched over a computer will lead to poor posture and a tightening of the muscles in our back, neck and shoulders. For that reason, we need to fit stretching into our daily routines, breathing into the muscles we are working on to further increase the stretch. I learned some of that when I used to do Yoga. (Maybe I need to get back into that!) Again, just be careful not to overdo it.

Stretching can also lower your blood sugar, which may be why I see that result sometimes after stretching Stephanie every morning. This is the first thing she does before getting out of bed, due to the fact that she is confined to a wheelchair most of the day.

Taking stretch breaks throughout the day will also invigorate you, even in the afternoon, and have you raring and ready to go!

Researchers say that stretching can help with fine-muscle coordination which means people who stretched before activity were less likely to fall and injure themselves.

Stretching exercises to practice include shoulder shrugs, wrist bends, knee lifts, low lunges and the pigeon pose (excellent for loosening tight hips and opening hip flexors).

Check out my sources for this article for more helpful stretching exercises and information. prevention.com and zentofitness.com under the benefits of stretching.

I’m sure we all would do better to incorporate some of these stretches every day, in fact, I’m off to pull out my yoga mat and get my stretch on right now! Have a wonderful Wednesday and I’ll see you back here tomorrow, when it’s a little warmer, on the patio!

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