When we think of movement, we often think of building muscle or increasing our aerobic capacity; however, we can sometimes underestimate the power of stretching. Enhancing flexibility as a part of a regular exercise program is key. One of the things we like best about stretching is that it can be done frequently in short bouts throughout the day.

This will not only enhance your overall flexibility, but it will also do wonders for your mood, energy levels and overall wellbeing. Being more physically flexible can make everyday tasks easier. Stretching can improve balance, range of motion, and circulation. Stretching will keep your joints limber and your muscles loose. Being flexible can also help prevent injury. Perhaps one of the most important aspects of stretching is that it can help relieve stress.

Remember, sitting without movement throughout the day can be problematic and can increase the risk of many different illnesses including cancer. In fact, according to the American Institute of Cancer Research, it only takes a brief one to two-minute break throughout the day to help lower cancer risk. Stretching is a great way to break up your day and add more combined movement into your daily routine. Stretching is one of those great forms of movement that doesn’t cost a thing and is easy to do.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when it comes to stretching:

  1. Stretching should not be painful, so don’t force yourself while stretching. You should only feel mild tension.
  2. Stretching should be fluid and gentle. Don’t bounce or throw your body into a stretch.
  3. Don’t hold your breath while stretching. Use this as an opportunity to breathe freely and deeply.
  4. Stretch frequently. In addition to stretching associated with exercise, you should periodically stretch throughout the day and before you go to bed at night. When stretching with exercise, gently stretch after your muscles are warmed up and then after you are done exercising.
  5. Drink plenty of fresh water before, during, and after your stretches. Water keeps all body systems hydrated and can help you get the most out of your stretching routine.

Stretching has long been used by athletes as a way to enhance performance; however, research indicates that stretching provides a wide range of health benefits. For additional support, you can also look into joint supplements like collagen or glucosamine.  Consult with your doctor for additional information. So be sure to incorporate stretching into your daily routine!