After a tough workout or even if you're just sitting around, having yourself a good stretch doesn't always feel necessary. Certified ACE personal trainer Morgan Rees explains why you need to do it anyway.
When you’re in a seated position, your muscles will start to tighten because of restricted movement. For example, when you are seated in a chair, your hip flexors are held in a shortened position. The muscles on the opposite side of your hips are held in a lengthened position.
“Your chest muscles are in a shortened position if you are seated at a desk and using a computer. Over time, this can influence muscular imbalance. The shortened muscles begin to stay in the tightened position and you may begin to feel more hip and back pain,” Rees explains.
Not only is the tightness and discomfort a temporary nuisance, it could go on to form long-term pain issues. Rees suggests that stretching throughout the day helps our muscles circulate through their regular movements of both shortened and lengthened positions. It will also help reduce some newfound aches and pains.
Aside from stretching, there are a few more things you can do to help your movement.
“Mobility exercises help with moving your joints through a full-range of motion--whether that is a great range of motion or not,” Rees says.
“If you have a laptop, I highly suggest sitting in many different positions throughout the day. Sit in a position to stretch your hamstrings and hips.”
If you can keep moving in some form throughout the day, even if it’s just sitting in different positions, it will benefit your muscles.
“Stretching can be a focused period of time during your day, but mobility can continue throughout.”
Now more than ever, with quarantine measures in place, it is important to pay attention to our movements and continue regular stretching. It will help relieve tension and provide relief in the long run to keep pain away.