I Know it’s a Stretch But…

In Movement, Wellness by Edward JohnsonLeave a Comment

Edward Johnson
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Between working, being a parent, going to school, a social life etc. it’s difficult to find time to stretch your muscles and joints. Although it is very necessary, it’s something that is not mentioned as much as it should be. As you awaken for another day, you think your body has received all the rest needed to keep you going. Stretching after you wake up is a sure fire way to fully awaken the muscles and joints of your body for better physical performance.

By heightening your flexibility, your range of motion naturally increases as well. The higher the potential of joint movement, the lower your risk of pain from things like arthritis, fibromyalgia, improper posture and so on. A good stretch also improves blood flow to muscles bringing nutrients to the targeted area but be warned that you shouldn’t stretch if you’re cold. Pulling a muscle is never fun, I’ve seen it happen doing Track and Field during the winter.

The recommended time for a stretch should be held for about 30 seconds, I do not put a time limit on myself because I believe we all have different bodies. You should find where you’re comfortable and go from there. Speaking of comfort; your stretching SHOULD NOT INVOLVE PAIN! If it hurts back off until it no longer does and hold there. Be poise and don’t rock and/or bounce in any way for it causes unwanted micro tears furthering the stiffness you want to avoid. If you find yourself stressed, you may receive relief from a good stretch with the proper breathing. That’s right it’s not just a cliché! Taking a breather especially during a stretch should lower your stress level. Have you ever met a stressed out Yogi? Granted Yoga is WAY more than stretching but it is an obvious factor. “Did you know that deep pranayama breathing, as is done in yoga, is the equivalent of singing love songs to your heart?


This textured heavy, slow breathing activates our vagus nerve that houses our parasympathetic system. This system oversees relaxation, breathing, digestion and blood flow. The nerve of the system, the vagus innervates, or connects to many organs including the bladder, bowels, thyroid and HEART. Those who breathe slower live longer and are able to control their heart rates. Everyone who has anxiety breathes only into the top 1/3 of their lungs. If you are not filling your abdomen and diaphragm with oxygen during respiration, your tissues are not getting perfusion, including the gut, where the majority of your immune cells and happy hormones are housed. “For anxiety, check out Nadi Shodhana breathing or disorganized breathing. It actually works!“, quoted from the wonderful Dr. Jessica Peatross whom, if you’ve visited the site before you know is highly knowledgeable. In closing, I encourage you to PLEASE set aside 10 extra minutes when you wake up to stretch. Your mind, body, and spirit will appreciate it! Besides who wants bad posture & fobsy muscles?

parana sympathetic system

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