Holistic Natural Health Experts

Why stretching is more important than you think?

Let’s face it, everyone knows we should stretch, but no one likes to do it. We know that some stretching enthusiasts will disagree, but in our experience, they are a very small group compared to the masses who hate stretching.

Stretching is vital for anyone practicing any sport. It applies to ALL of us, and there is no exception to the rule.

And all of us means that it also includes those who dislike stretching but are not practicing sport.

We know it could sound unfair, and it maybe is, depending on your standpoint, but it’s the way things work.

We believe that if people understand nature’s law better, they will be more inclined to see them positively and work with them instead of against them. 

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So why does even someone not practicing any sport need to do stretching?

Benefits of stretching

Let’s rewind the movie here from the day we are born. When we come down to earth, we inherit a vehicle: our body.

This body is a unique model designed to serve us all our life. But this incredible gift comes with some rules.

We can’t bring it back to the shop and ask for a refund, we can’t exchange it for another one, we can’t upgrade it along the way, and we can’t change parts when it gets worn out.

However, it has an incredible self-repairing tool kit and is programmed to do everything possible to survive and serve us for the longest time possible.

The problem is that it doesn’t come with a complete manual for operating it.

Some people will argue that the manual is not missing, and we just don’t want or can read it, but ultimately, it doesn’t matter as a result is the same.

As drivers, we are the number one culprit for damaging this stunning and complex vehicle.

Hopefully, for us and humankind, the vehicle is designed to take an incredible amount of damage before it breaks.

Therefore, it’s up to us, drivers, to take care of our only car if we want it to last.

Now that we explained that, let’s return to sports and stretching. Stretching is more important than sport and should be practiced by everyone, including people not doing sport, and here is why.

When we inherit our vehicle (our body), it is genetically capable of doing amazing things. In other words, it has excellent potential. However, the expression of this potential will largely depend on what the driver does with it.

In that sense, practicing sport is like honoring the potential of our vehicle by using it and pushing it more or less toward its limits. It’s a great thing to do, but ultimately, it’s not essential.

On the other hand, stretching and, more broadly, movement is like taking the car for a ride and using the basic features. Avoiding that would be like abandoning your vehicle out in the rain and not using it for months. It will get moldy and rusty, and in the long run, it will create massive damage.

Even if the comparison has limits, mainly because our body is a living organism compared to a vehicle that is not, the point is that stretching applies to everyone and goes beyond simply the muscles being stretched.

In our opinion, stretching should be part of the weekly maintenance of our body, exactly like you would change the oil in the car from time to time.

Why stretching is important

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Top benefits of stretching

The benefits of stretching are many, but here are the top ones:

  • Maintaining/improving flexibility
  • Maintaining/improving mobility
  • Improving blood flow
  • Preventing body injuries
  • Improving muscle power
  • Improving proprioception

The first two, maintaining and improving flexibility and mobility, are the main reasons why everyone needs to stretch. But why is that?

Let’s start by clarifying the definition of both. 

Flexibility is the ability of any part of your body to move passively until a maximum point, for example, how far someone can lift your leg towards your head.

Mobility is the ability of any part of your body to move actively until a maximum point, for example, how far you can lift your leg towards your head without helping the movement.

As you can quickly realize, flexibility is always greater than mobility, and that’s normal.

For the people asking themselves what the link to stretching is, let’s simply say that our muscles are responsible for all active movements of our bodies. If they are too tense, our maximum movement range (flexibility) will be shorter as they will prohibit movement after a certain point.

And if flexibility decreases, mobility decreases as well eventually.

The problem is that as we age if we don’t move and stretch regularly, both flexibility and mobility decrease, even if we don’t practice any sports!

Indeed, a lot of people think that muscles only get tense if they are exercised, but that is not true. Muscles can get tense for many reasons, especially the lack of physical exercise.

That’s one of the reasons why you see a big difference between a child falling and an old person.

In the first case, although the child can have some bruises and cuts, he will generally don’t break anything except if the shock is very strong. In the second case, even if the shock is slight, the old person generally breaks a bone or worse.

The exception is for old persons who have been stretching during their life and have maintained good flexibility and mobility.

Here’s how you can start stretching today

Except if you did not know that stretching is vital before reading this, you are most likely procrastinating about it.

Apart from all the solutions to procrastination and the good old “kick in the butt,” we can bring down one of the main excuses people give not to stretch: it requires too much time.

That’s not true. First, all sports require more time than stretching, so for people doing sports and lacking stretching, this excuse doesn’t stand.

Second, for people that are crazy busy all day long, a minimalistic stretching session can last no more than 20 min, and stretching can be done while doing other activities (commuting, reading, studying, etc.), even if it’s not ideal.

Factoring that, no one can say that he can’t spend 20 min 2-3 x per week to stretch.

Finally, we can say that the lack of stretching is a silent disease that only creates evident symptoms when it’s very advance.

Therefore, even if you don’t see or feel the need to stretch, we recommend that you do it anyway as often as possible. If you do, you will then benefit from all the advantages of stretching and feeling much better in your body after doing it.

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