We’ve all heard that stretching is beneficial for regulating lactic acid (decreasing soreness), helping increased range of motion (by increasing oxygen and blood nutrients to the muscles), as well as simply making us feeling more at ease and limber in everyday movement. While these are all true, I wanted to dive a little deeper into the science behind why stretching is important – and not just before or after a workout.
Let’s start with the Central Nervous System (CNS). The CNS is made up of the brain and the spinal cord. It is in constant communication with the rest of your body. One of the main function of the CNS is to keep the body in positions that it perceives as safe. Did you catch that? Perceives as safe. This means if we are sitting at a desk all day, with rounded shoulders without taking breaks to counteract this position our CNS will begin to recognize this posture as safe, and thus we begin to take this posture with us wherever we go – cycling, strength training, driving, eating, anything!
This is what it’s so important for us to stretch in our daily lives, not just because it is perceived as “healthy” or it’s something “I should do”, but because our body needs to be reminded what those safe positions are. Subsequently, we can train our body to re-learn those proper safe positions! How cool is that? Now you can add this to the long list of benefits that come with stretching such as improved posture, balance, lowering blood sugar, lowering stress levels, and increased energy levels… the list goes on!
Hope to see you beautiful Krankers out on the floor stretching next time you’re at the gym!