- Improve posture.
Many of us spend at least a portion of our day sitting at a computer or looking at a phone or tablet. In this position the muscles of the chest, back (both lower and upper), and hips can tighten. We can improve our posture by stretching the hip flexors, chest muscles, neck muscles (upper traps), and hamstring muscles.
- Reduce back pain.
If we have tight hamstrings or hip flexors, the lower back compensates and can develop pain. Stretching the leg muscles and the muscles mentioned for posture will likely help to decrease back pain. Backs will also love the movement that comes with 5 minutes of stretching through the day to lubricate the joints, slide and glide the nerves and improve the blood flow.
- Before physical activity
Active stretching helps prevent injury prior to physical activity by bringing blood flow to the muscles, warming them up, sliding and gliding our nerves and decreasing any tightness they might have to prevent a strain or a tear. Before activity we don’t focus on long holds, but active movements that help warm up the muscles into their full range.
- Decrease muscle soreness.
Soreness from too much gardening, a recent gym session or from simply doing a new activity can be relieved with some gentle stretching. By stretching these tight muscles out and improving the blood flow, pain and soreness can be alleviated.