Stretching Keeps You Beautiful Inside and Out

Experience the joy of stretching. Felines do it naturally several times a day, especially after one of their frequent catnaps. There’s even a yoga pose called the cat stretch, where you kneel on all fours and arch your back towards the sky. It is usually followed by the cow pose, where you arch your back in the opposite direction. This massages your internal organs while stretching your abdomen, torso, back, and neck.

Stretches such as these improve your posture, open up your lungs, and release tension from your spine. Whether you practice yoga or simply want to limber up before and after working out, stretching helps keep your muscles supple.

One of the most positive aspects of stretching is its ability to reduce inflammation. You naturally damage muscle fibers when you exercise. Gentle stretching to the point of pressure, not pain, increases blood flow to lessen soreness and inflammation. It also relaxes tight muscles. Plus, it simply feels wonderful as it releases those blissful chemicals called endorphins.

Performed correctly, regular stretching reduces body aches, increases mobility, and improves range of motion. It also helps shed stress. Your muscles tense when you feel stressed. Relieve that tension in your neck and back with gentle stretches. It may also tame tension headaches. Combined with a practice of meditation, regular stretching can even help calm your mind.

Try some hamstring and hip stretches to keep your lower body mobile and then do shoulder, neck, and back stretches to relieve upper-body tension. Dedicate just 10 minutes a day and reap ongoing rewards of better flexibility and mobility. Done regularly, stretching is simply catnip for the body and soul.