by Jaden Taylor
Have you ever had a hard time getting out of bed in the morning? The blankets often seem cozy, and you may find yourself just hitting the snooze button on your alarm. But, have you ever considered stretching as soon as you wake up? When you stretch in the morning, your body will begin pumping more blood through your body, which ultimately makes you more alert. This is just one of many examples why training our flexibility through stretching and exercise is a needed factor in our lives; it makes old age more tolerable, increases emotional well being, and reduces the risk of injury.
First and foremost, it’s a universal thought that most people would rather live a good and full life than to waste it. And part of life includes aging, which means eventually our bodies will begin to weaken and lose mobility. Luckily, “staying active and stretching regularly help prevent this loss of mobility, which ensures independence as we age” (source #2). This idea is encouraging to your own (future) family generations, because it’s more fun to spend time with grandparents when they aren’t always needing help with basic daily activities. The ability to do these activities, like getting dressed, cooking, or walking up stairs are “dependent on [4 important] factors, such as strength, balance, flexibility and endurance” (source #7). Not only is mobility affected by these things, but emotional wellness too.
If the whole purpose of living is to have joy, then surely being mentally stable is crucial to obtaining happiness. The solution is simple, since “exercise is one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health” (source #11). It’s been scientifically proven that exercise releases positive endorphins, which are chemicals in the body that makes you feel happy. As you exercise and stretch, “you’ll have increased energy [and] mental clarity” (source #6). This knowledge can be used to benefit the ease of taking a test at school. Alongside with exercise, flexibility training also gives protection from potential injuries.
In the fitness world, bruises and pulled muscles are prone to happen. Sadly, a lot of these injuries could’ve been avoided if all athletes simply took time to work on flexibility. Being physically fit isn’t just about strength. As a matter of fact, “flexibility training and strength training can actually enhance one another” (source #5). It’s safe to interpret that stretching should be included, no matter what athletic event, or even no event at all. From the words of a professional personal trainer, “the incidence of injury decreases when people include flexibility training in their routines due to the enhanced ability to move unimpeded through a wider ROM ([range of motion])” (source #2). Certainly taking the advice to heart will save you from potentially excruciating pain.
In conclusion, we all need to train flexibility daily to prevent injuries, lighten the burden of old age, and improve mental health. With all of the benefits that result from its principles, there shouldn’t be any reason not to. As a call of action, choose 6 days of the week, and set aside at least 30 minutes of time each day to exercise and stretch. Below is a chart for stretching ideas to get started. Put the facts and witnesses to the test, and it’s a guarantee that your life will be better.