Stretching is widely supported today as a vital part of fitness too with benefits including reduced stress, lower back pain relief and increased flexibility.
- Improved Circulation
Stretching your muscles has been proven to increase circulation by increasing the blood flow and supply of nutrients to muscles and cartilage. This reduces muscle soreness and stiffness. The less sore your muscles are, the less painful it will be to work the same muscles and to exercise in general which means you will be raring to go for your next class much sooner.
There are four main measures of overall fitness: aerobic, muscular, body composition and flexibility. The main way to increase your flexibility is by stretching.
As we get older, our muscles gradually become shorter and tighter, reducing overall flexibility. This restriction makes you more susceptible to injury which is both frustrating and unnecessary. Stretching is primarily responsible for increasing flexibility and therefore reducing the risk of muscle, tendon and joint injury. Increased flexibility also allows you to exercise better – you know the days when your muscles feel more supple and malleable are the days you enjoy your workouts even more!
- Increased Range of Motion
Stretching has been shown to effectively increase range of motion in joints. Better range of motion enables you to keep better balance. Better balance means your more likely to fly through any class! Increased range of motion also helps you through your daily life, more energised and with a spring in your step.
- Reduce Stress
We all get stressed out with today’s busy lifestyle, juggling careers, family, friends, even the house work gives me a head ache. Like all types of exercise, flexibility exercises like stretching at the barre, in the centre or on your mat have powerful stress-busting abilities. Stress causes your muscles to contract, becoming tense. This tension can have negative effects on just about every part of your body, hence the head ache. Gentle stretching exercises relax tense muscles associated with stress.
- Alleviate Lower Back Pain
More and more people struggle with chronic lower back pain. Since many muscles that dancers rely on (quadriceps, hamstrings, lower back muscles and hip flexors) to give them beautiful posture, stretching these muscles has the ability to greatly reduce or eliminate lower back pain.