If you are like most people, you probably aren’t fond of stretching every day. Everyone tells you that it’s good for you, has a lot of benefits, etc. but you’ve never committed to it for long enough to truly make a difference. Plus you may just simply think it looks funny. Going forward, however, you should change your habits and adapt stretching into your routine.
Health Risks of Sedentary Lifestyle and Neglecting Stretching
The problems associated with neglecting stretching every day can affect you in many different ways. During our normal daily routines, it is likely that we aren’t doing things that are beneficial for our body physically. The average American spends 13 hours a day sitting while working and completing miscellaneous tasks, in addition to the eight or so hours that they sleep each night. A heavy sedentary lifestyle can bring many challenges and disadvantages to an otherwise healthy body.
Sedentary lifestyles have been linked to developing bad posture. Surprisingly, a bad posture does a lot more damage to the human body than one may expect. Bad postures can affect the way other people perceive you, deepen your possible depression, cut off circulation, and eventually increase your risk of experiencing premature death.
Another consequence of living a sedentary lifestyle is having reduced mobility. During the day, we simply don’t put our bodies in enough unique positions to truly loosen up and warm up our muscles. This type of neglect can cause problems during specific forms of exercise, or simply just make it harder to complete everyday tasks such as bending down to pick up things or reaching for things in hard to reach spots.
Luckily, years of neglect can be mostly washed away by adopting a stretching routine into your daily schedule. It doesn’t even need to take all day, either. Proper stretching can be achieved by just doing it for ten minutes a day. That is such a short time period that it can be done in the morning before work, during a work break, or even right before you start your workout. For best results, you should stretch in addition to a weightlifting routine and continue to stretch on your rest days as well.Related: 14 Signs That You Are in Good Health
Benefits and Types of Stretching
The benefits of stretching don’t have to be confined to just making you more limber. Stretching can also aid you in your efforts to become stronger. Many compound exercises such as the squat, bench press, and shoulder press depend on the mobility of the lifter. These exercises can be done with limited mobility, but the range of motion will be greatly decreased. A poor range of motion could potentially result in injury, but a great range of motion could potentially have you breaking records that you never dreamed of. This happens because having more mobility will allow you to build muscles that can aid your balance and eventually help you get more weight off of the floor.
Some stretches that may prove beneficial to you in your everyday life and weightlifting activities are as follows.
1. Couch Stretch
To do the Couch Stretch, put yourself in a half-kneeling position next to a wall or box. Make sure your back shin is as parallel as possible to the wall or box. Contract the stretched leg’s hamstring and hold this position for a minute or two before switching to the other leg. If this position serves to be challenging for you, it is okay to hold on to something for the first few times.
2. Counterweight Deep Squat
This stretch may not be as simple to set up as the other ones on this list as you will need some additional items, but it is well worth it for hip mobility. To achieve the Counterweight Deep Squat, place a foam roller between your legs, and try to squat while holding two dumbbells in front of you. While in the squat position, take a few long and deep breaths. When you are done, do three or five more.
3. Lat Hang
This one is probably the simplest. All you have to do is get in the pull-up position and hang from the bar. While you are in this position, take a few deep breaths to truly stretch your lats to their highest potential.
4. Modified Pigeon
Even though this stretch has a funny name, the effects are very serious. To do the Modified Pigeon, get on all fours and place a foam roller or pillow underneath your left knee. Lift your right knee and bring it to the back of your left calf. Once you are in this position, rock your hips back and forth for a couple minutes and switch sides to complete the stretch.
Try stretching every day for a couple of weeks, and much of your physical pain should be gone, or at least lessened.Related: 10 Yoga Poses That Will Help Lower Back Pain