There are many things we gain insurance for – car insurance, health insurance, travel insurance, life insurance, etc. Technically, by definition,
insurance is “the act, system, or business of insuring property, life, one’s person, etc., against loss or harm arising in specified contingencies”.
Although we’ve heard of certain actors and models that have gained insurance on a particular body part (sorry your lips aren’t more important than everyone else’s!), rarely do we stop and think about our own personal body insurance. Although working out, eating healthy, and taking an interest in your own health is important, what are you going to do with all that if you can’t stand up straight due a stiff back, or take a stroll down the street because your knees hurt too much? Although there are certain circumstances affecting the body that stretching could not have helped, I do believe that on a whole, stretching can significantly reduce your chance “against loss or harm” when it comes to your body, muscles, and mental health. Allow me to bullet-point the amazing benefits stretching can have on your body:
- Increased flexibility – Although obvious, increasing your flexibility is something I see many people care less about. Naturally your flexibility decreases with age, and when you add in the fact that working out generally shortens your muscles, it becomes even more important that flexibility is a part of your health routine. Believing that you’re not flexible, or deciding that yoga sucks is not an excuse. Flexibility is not something you just ‘have’; it’s something you practice to obtain. Using ‘I’m not flexible’ as a reason to not stretch, is complete bulls&$t, because that’s the very reason you should be stretching. Also, if an hour long yoga session isn’t your thing, simply getting on the ground and stretching while you watch ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ would suffice as a stretching routine.
- Increased circulation – Living in a sedentary world, it’s concerning that our blood isn’t circulation around our body to its full potential. Good circulation increases the supply of nutrients and oxygen to your muscles, joints, and brain. Not only is this good for obvious reasons, but it also helps to decrease muscle pain after a workout, and allows you live life more comfortably.
- Increased range of motion – Stretching increases the range of motion in your limbs and joints, and range of motion helps to decrease your rate of injury. They go hand-in-hand. My point: The more range of motion you have in your joints and muscles, the less likely you are to suffer an injury.
- Decreased pain – Stiff muscles in the hamstrings, hips, and buttocks are the most common causes of lower back pain. What can you do to decrease your muscle stiffness? Stretch! Often people think they have actual body trauma, but really it is something easily fixed by some dedicated stretching time.
- Decreased stress – Lastly, we’ve all noticed that Yogi’s seem less stressed, and generally happy. There’s a reason for this, and we can reap the benefits too! Stretching can naturally decrease your stress hormone, while also releasing feel-good endorphins to your brain. Just like exercise, when you’re done stretching, you never regret it!
If stretching is not a part of your regular routine, and you’re wondering how you’re going to fit this in your already busy schedule, understand that it doesn’t have to involve a huge time commitment, and only 5 minutes can reap BIG results. Taking a moment to stretch every day, even if it’s while you’re cleaning, brushing your teeth, or watching a program, will make you feel so good, it will be worth the effort. If you want to live with a limber body, muscles that feel good, and a decreased rate of injury, go put some insurance on your body and your future with a good stretch session!
Excuse me while I go grab my yoga mat.
Showing you the difference between liking and loving your body,
Ashley Dale Roy