The Importance of Stretching

With more time spent working in front of a computer, sitting at a desk, or doing manual labour, it is important to remember that not do our minds need a break, but our bodies do as well. In today’s post, we will chat about the importance of stretching and how to do so safely. 


Stretching should be done after a few minutes of moving your body so that you don’t hurt or injure yourself. It should also be done after a workout, regardless of how intense it is. Once your body is warmed up, begin stretching in a slow and relaxed manner. Stretches should be comfortable to hold for a count of ten. Stretching is an excellent way to bring your heart rate down and give your muscles time to recover.  


“Regular stretching keeps muscles long, lean, and flexible, and this means that exertion won't put too much force on the muscle itself. Healthy muscles also help a person with balance problems avoid falls.” -Harvard Health 


Stretching lengthens muscles and tendons and allows longer muscles to generate more force around the joints to contract more efficiently and perform better. You should stretch for approximately 5-10 minutes and make this time more effective here are some tips to keep in mind: 


Stretching your back 

Back injuries are one of the most common injuries in any type of job that requires frequent maneuvering and heavy lifting of objects. This is why people usually overwork their backs.  

Take at least one to two minutes to stretch your back: 

  • Bend slowly, side to side (20-30 seconds).
  • Place your hands on your lower back, bend your neck back and arch your back (20-30 seconds).
  • Place your legs together, slowly bend down, and try to touch your toes (hold for 20-30 seconds).
  • Slowly twist your torso and upper body side to side (20-30 seconds).

Stretching your legs/knees 

Your legs and knees are under great stress from carrying heavy loads, squatting, repetitive kneeling, etc.  

Stretching your legs and knees for at least one to two minutes is recommended: 

  • Stand on one leg, reach behind your back, and pull your foot up and forward (20-30 seconds for each leg).
  • Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart and bend down at the waist. Try to touch the ground (20-30 seconds).

Stretching your shoulders 

Your shoulders get tired and achy and can be a nagging injury that will plague you for many years to come.  

It is recommended to stretch your shoulders for at least one to two minutes: 

  • Extend your arms, and make large, slow circular motions with your arm. First forward then backward (20-30 seconds for each arm).
  • Grab the opposite elbow and pull the elbow across your body to stretch your shoulder muscles (20-30seconds for each arm).

Stretching your neck 

The neck muscles get extremely fatigued and sore, especially when working in cramped spaces or in a position where you are required to look at an upward angle.  

Stretching your neck for at least one to two minutes is recommended: 

  • Make a slow, circular motion by rotating your head. First clockwise then counterclockwise (20-30 seconds in each direction).
  • Place your hand on one side of your head and use your neck muscles to gently push against your hand. Then, switch and push from the other direction (20-30 seconds in each direction).

A regular exercise program will help to strengthen muscles, which will help prevent strains and soreness. Alternating exercises or work tasks daily will allow muscles to recover, prevent injuries, and promote a higher level of fitness. Remember to consult your medical professional before beginning a program of exercise if you have any questions or concerns. 


Stay safe, and don’t forget to stretch today! 

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