Have you noticed how your cat and dog always have a good stretch when they wake from a nap?
Well maybe we should follow suit because when we sleep we lie in the same position for an extended period and this can lead to stiff muscles that become tight through the lack of movement. So if we were to act like the animals and start the day with a stretch it would really help to:
- Loosen and realign muscles
- Iron out any kinks from sleeping in an odd position
- Signal the brain that it’s time to get up and start using those muscles again
- Get the circulation going.
And since we start the day all warm after our night under the duvet, the body is already at a temperature ideal for effective stretching.
Stretch it out
Stretching is in fact one of the best ways to keep your muscles healthy, here’s how:
- Regular stretching strengthens muscles and increases flexibility
- Increased flexibility in turn benefits joints
- Both of which will give a better range of motion for day-to-day activities
In fact, stretching daily as a stand-alone activity can boost muscle and joint health, decrease the risk of day-to-day injury by improving flexibility, reduce tension and improve posture.
And while the ‘morning stretch’ so readily employed by our furry friends is a great way to wake up and get going, a more targeted stretching routine for specific parts of the body will have the greatest benefit to you muscle and joints.
Boost your energy
Stretching at work can also help to avoid repetitive strain injuries that are caused by many office-based duties, as well as boost your energy! Simple overhead arm stretches or leg raises under the desk are a great way to start, but don’t be afraid to get up and do a few squats to get your circulation going too. Here’s my five tips to get a better stretch:
- Make sure to stretch evenly on both sides of the body
- Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds
- Never bounce while you stretch
- Focus on the different muscle groups – shoulders, neck, calves, thighs, hips, arms and the lower back.
- Breathe! Exhale while going into a stretch and then hold it as you inhale.
And if you are still feeling the strain, and are starting to feel a little stiffness in your neck, arms or lower body then why not consider a course of osteopathy to aid the release of this tension and provide relief from bad posture and tight muscles?
Get in touch to find out more