The essential guide to stretching properly
Why is stretching important?
Whether you’re 22 or 62, flexibility is essential for maintaining a fit and mobile body. Having flexible muscles ensures that you can easily accomplish daily activities and prevent injuries.
If you have inflexible muscles, your body could be pulled out of its natural alignment. Engaging in physical activities with inflexible muscles can also force your body to use compensation patterns if your mobility isn’t sufficient for certain tasks.
Some people are “naturally flexible” due to genetics or lifestyle habits. For example, being a physically active or sedentary child can affect your flexibility as you age. As an adult, your job and how often you exercise also affect your flexibility.
But even if you’re a couch potato or a gym buff, stretching properly and regularly will benefit your overall health.
Stretching may help reverse long-term bad postural habits like kyphosis and hyperlordosis, especially if your job requires you to sit in front of a computer for hours in a day.
Kyphosis refers to a hunchback posture that shortens your chest muscle. The condition, also called roundback, occurs when your spine in the upper back is excessively curved.
The thoracic region of the spine (upper back) has a natural slight curve. If you have kyphosis, the natural arch of your upper spine will be larger than normal.
Once you develop this condition, you may have a visible hump on your upper back. When viewed from the side, your upper back will look very rounded or will protrude. You will look like you’re slouching and your shoulders will seem noticeably rounded.
Kyphosis may result in pressure on the spine, which causes pain and discomfort. You may also experience breathing difficulties because of the pressure on your lungs. Stretching through the chest and shoulders can help relieve the discomfort caused by kyphosis.
On the other hand, if you have hyperlordosis or swayback, you have an excessive inward curve in your lower back. Hyperlordosis may also cause discomfort, which you can address by properly stretching tight back muscles.
Stretching is recommended for those with bad posture since fixing your alignment will help your body move and feel better. Additionally, stretching will make your workouts more effective since you will be able to easily access the correct muscles needed for optimized training.