How to Unwind
Many people associate stretching with something you should do before or after exercise but the reality is that a good stretch is a good thing to do any time. There are many benefits to stretching out your body on a regular basis, especially for those of us who tend to sit at a desk and type on a computer all day. The good news is you don't need any equipment to stretch and anyone can do it. Even if you think you aren't flexible at all, there is still a benefit to giving your body the opportunity stretch out.
According to Harvard Health, stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints. Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight. Then, when you call on the muscles for activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way. That puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.
Stretching is also good for your mental health. Engaging the body in a stretch helps to reduce blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rate, counteracting the body’s physiological responses to stress and muscular tension. You know that feeling of your shoulders being up by your ears or your stomach feeling tense due to stress? Stretching those areas and releasing the tension has benefits for your body and mind. Regular stretching can help to improve blood flow and circulation, which helps oxygen and nutrients flow throughout the body.
Take a five minute break in your day and stand up for a stretch. Reach all the way up to the ceiling and then float your arms down to your toes. Stretch towards one leg and then the other. Raise your shoulders and then release them down. Roll them forwards and backwards. Roll your neck from side to side. If you have space, sit down and reach for your toes. Regular stretching keeps the body limber and helps the mind relax. Take a few minutes out of your day and try it.