Stretching and Why We Need it - By: Kassandra Sousa, LMT
Stretching and Why We Need It
By: Kassandra Sousa, LMT
We always hear that we need to stretch, but why? What is its importance?
Stretching and/or activities such as Yoga, Tai Chi, and Massage are so important for layers of reasons. First and foremost, you end up with a more efficiently running body; a body that can keep up with you, your kids, grandkids, and pets! When you move, your blood and lymph flow more easily, which push blood and oxygen to your muscles and organs. Ever have issues with circulation, you could possibly just need to move more!
A study by Science Daily (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/08/180821094203.htm) summarized that “sedentary lifestyle can cause an impairment of the transport of blood around the body, which increases the risk of disease in the heart and blood vessels. New research suggests that performing simple leg exercises whilst lying down might help to prevent these problems.”
When you perform physical activity, you work the fascia in your body. Fascia is the connective tissue that holds all of you together, literally! When you are working out or stretching, you’re breaking up the stagnation in flow. That’s why after a workout you feel like you are more mobile and flexible than before the activity.
Massage and physical therapy are so crucial in injury recovery time for those reasons as well. An article by Runners World (2) explains that fascia can be the culprit to a lot of muscular chronic pains, but also explains some really great ways to take care of your fascia.
Not only are you keeping blood flow going to an injury/stiff area which helps promote healing anyway, but you are also helping to strengthen the area with any physical activity you do, building more muscle mass and strengthening bone mass. Click here (3) for a list of exercises, both low and high-intensity, great for building muscle and strengthening bone density, from the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
So what is the ideal stretching routine?
According to Harvard Health Publishing, the average adult should be stretching at least 2 to 3 times a week, for at least 60 seconds per stretch (4). For example, if you can hold a stretch for 15 seconds, repeat that stretch 3 more times for the best results. NBC (5) News states that “if you want to improve your flexibility and range of motion on a permanent, long term basis you need at least two to three (30 to 60 minute) dedicated stretching sessions a week.”
Even if you are someone who never stretched before, or someone that is just more sedentary in general, stretching for 10 to 15 minutes every few days can make a huge difference in a couple weeks. Not only are people more mobile because of stretching, but they also can rehab old injuries and prevent new ones from happening.
Runners World https://www.runnersworld.com/advanced/a20784481/understanding-your-fascia/
List of Exercises from the National Osteoporosis Foundation https://www.nof.org/patients/treatment/exercisesafe-movement/osteoporosis-exercise-for-strong-bones/