Triad presents a great article written by Dr. Katie D'Amato that gives an easy perspective on why incorporating stretching has a long term impact.
Katie writes, "Stretching is a powerful tool that can truly enhance the way you feel, look, and act. Often times people forget to stretch or leave it out of their daily routine because they feel like they don’t have time for it. As a physical therapist, this bewilders me because stretching should never be overlooked--it can change your life for the better. I highly recommend stretching daily for at least 15 minutes. Pick what feels best for your body: in the morning, midday, in the evening, pre-workout, post-workout.
Katie's article on the "5 Reasons stretching can change your life," goes through many ways we can use stretching. We have specifically highlighted a few for our athletes. Listed below, you will get insight on how to improve your athletic performance and body mindfulness.
Release Tense Muscles from Holding Stress
When we feel stressed or anxious, it doesn’t just impact our mental health. We can often times feel it in our bodies too. This is because when we have stressful or anxiety inducing experiences in life, our bodies respond with muscle tension. Stretching can help relieve this painful feeling in our muscles, making us feel more relaxed and allowing our bodies to feel at ease.
Deep stretch or Yin Yoga classes are great avenues to achieve relaxed deep stretching by holding stretches for 3-5 minutes at a time and slowly moving from one stretch to the next.
If you listen to your body when it whispers, you won't have to hear it scream.
Getting in tune with your body by stretching allocates your focus and attention to your body and breath rather than other stressors that may be keeping you up at night. Additionally, stretching promotes mindfulness which is highly correlated with relaxation and therefore a better night’s sleep. The Yin Yoga stretching sequence above will help relax mind and body to ready yourself for sleep.
So, if you have trouble falling asleep at night, listen up!
Additionally, slouching, a common and increasing problem, especially as young athletes are using more electronic devices and if you are sitting in school all day. This can be easily reversed and prevented through ritual stretching.
Stretching promotes proper alignment and allows for improved vertical posture. Good posture does not only look better, but it improves blood flow, promotes healthy nerve flow, and supports you muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Also, people with good posture have less neck and back pain!
Try this Yin Yoga Sequence
Learn more about Dr. Katie D'Amato Physical Training practice, Balance by Katie, here