I know we hear it ALL the time. Stretch in the morning. Stretch before you work out. Stretch after you work out. Take some time in the day to stretch. Make sure you stretch.
Well, you hear that all the time for a reason! It is EXTREMELY beneficial for you!
First off, WAY less injuries and I know this from experience. I used to not stretch. I used to tell myself that I didn’t have time and didn’t need it even with all the things that I was doing each day. I run, bike, and lift weights and for some reason I still thought that I didn’t need to stretch. Then slowly as I got older the pain started happening. First, it was in my knees. I got runners knee pretty bad in both knees over and over again and I could not figure out why. I changed up how I ran. I wore a knee brace when I ran or worked out. I even took some time off, but the pain still kept coming back. Then my feet started to hurt and I became scared to death that I was going to plantar fasciitis like my mom and that that was going to slow me down with my fitness goals. After changing shoes, the pain still came and went.
Then after doing research I found out that what may have been causing all of my pains and injuries were tight muscles. My muscles around my knees could have been too tight that they were pulling at my joints constantly giving them strain that they couldn’t handle and didn’t need. My calf muscles could have been too tight that they were pulling at the tendons on my feet making it hurtful to walk.
Finally, I gave in and started to stretch. Slowly my knees and feet stopped hurting, and I was able to go months without any pain at all. Also, when I did get pain somewhere I was able to make it go away a lot faster than before. But my biggest complaint I have had most of my life was lower back pain. It was where I felt like my hips were stuck to my spine making it hard to sleep or sit still. Happily, after a few weeks of stretching the most amazing thing kept happening. It got to the point that during every stretch routine I was able to extend my spine and decompress it making it pop out in several places that left me with this amazing relief like I was floating on air and standing taller. So, stretch if you want to escape from some of your bodies ache and pains that are making life harder to enjoy!
Another thing that I have found that stretching does for me is it helps me relax and fall asleep faster. You may think that you don’t have time to stretch and that it isn’t worth the “time wasted” like I did, until you think about the logic of doing it before bed. Typically, before I started stretching right before I crawled into bed to sleep, I would lay awake for hours tossing and turning, muscles cramping up, back aching, and mind racing. When I finally started to take the time to stretch and I went to bed, my muscles were all relaxed and happy, my mind was calm from focusing solely on my muscles and was ready for a deep sleep, and my back was pleasantly comfortable and ready to rest before tackling the next day. With my body nice, calm, stretched out, and happy I have been able to fall asleep within ten minutes or less! So spending fifteen to twenty minutes stretching and making my body blissful to save me from spending hours of tossing and turning seems very logical to me.
I could go on and on with all the scientific reasoning that stretching is also important, but those you can look up for yourself. I just wanted to give you my experience in life so far with stretching and how my life had been without it. Just know that any little bit of stretching is better than nothing. Plus you never know, you may find something in your short five minutes you had planned that you really love to stretch and slowly your stretching sessions will become longer and longer and include more muscle groups!
So, FOR REAL, Stretch!!!