Working on flexibility in your body is a key component to not only feeling good in the present moment, but also to protecting your mobility and independence as your body ages.
But you don't have to take my word for it.
According to this article from Harvard Health Publishing, "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.
"For example, sitting in a chair all day results in tight hamstrings in the back of the thigh. That can make it harder to extend your leg or straighten your knee all the way, which inhibits walking. Likewise, when tight muscles are suddenly called on for a strenuous activity that stretches them, such as playing tennis, they may become damaged from suddenly being stretched. Injured muscles may not be strong enough to support the joints, which can lead to joint injury."
To ensure your body can move the way you want and need it to, there are key areas to focus on: calves, hamstrings, hip flexors in the pelvis, and quadriceps in the front of the thigh. Stretching your shoulders, neck, and lower back on a regular basis is also helpful.
Learn more in Muscles: The More You Know.
The more often you do it, the easier and more beneficial stretching becomes. To enjoy the benefits of flexibility, stretching your body needs to be a habit you nurture, not a one-off. You can build flexibility a little at time - even just taking a few minutes throughout your day will be cumulatively advantageous to your long game.
Self-Care September Day 6: Stretch Your Body
excerpt taken from "5 (Easy, Free) Instant Wellness Boosts"
"No matter where you are reading this right now, go ahead and look up for a just moment. Take a deep, mindful breath, and drop your left ear towards your left shoulder as you exhale, lengthening the muscles on the right side of your neck.
Let that feel good.
Then do other side, right ear to right shoulder. Roll your shoulders, your ankles, your wrists. Flex your fingers. Twist your spine. Touch your toes. Bend your knees.
Let all the muscles lengthen. Let it all feel good.
If you can, raise your arms above your head, gently clasp your hands, and deliberately lean from side to side, keeping your feet grounded and your hips square.
If you can, use a foam roller, or two tennis balls tied up in a sock to hep your muscles unwind.
If you can, knock out a 15-minute yoga sequence - the internet is littered with them if you are looking for guidance. :)
Always, let it feel good."
Hold a stretch between 20-30 seconds; you should feel tension but never pain (see a doctor if you do!)
I love you and I'll see you soon!