Pop Quiz: If you are about to run a marathon, play a game of basketball, or participate in any other athletic activity, what is one thing you should always do before?
That's right..Stretching! But did you know; daily stretching can also improve your physical performance, increase circulation, and even effect your attitude? There is so much more to stretching than you may think, so take a couple minutes out of your day, and educate yourself!
Our friends at Occupational Athletics, Inc. (OAI) recently released an article that is aimed to help people learn about stretching, and doing so safely. OAI lists some benefits of daily stretching as:
- Enhance body mechanics
- Preparing your body for physical activity
- Helping with lower back pain
- Increasing body awareness and improving posture
- Improving overall mental and physical health
- Increase flexibility
- Promote relaxation
- Starting the day on a positive note
Still not sold? Try a stretch every morning before work, or even when you get to work, and see how you feel. But remember, do so safely. While stretching can be very beneficial to your health, it can also be harmful to your body if done wrong. Here are some tips for safe stretching:
- Do not stretch beyond your limit. It should NOT hurt! You should only feel minor discomfort.
- If you have any health conditions, consult your physician or physical therapist prior to stretching.
- Only hold a stretch between 10 and 30 seconds. Any shorter or longer, and you will not receive the full benefit!
- Breathe normally! Do not hold your breath during stretches.
- Balance your routine! Stretch opposing muscle groups each time you stretch. For example, stretch the muscles in the back of your thigh, then move to the muscles in front.
- Prevent boredom. Find a way to incorporate new stretches into your routine.
Well there you have it! Now get out there and get yourself physically prepared for each and every day!