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Stretching What You Need to Know

While saving on your prescription medications can help you maintain your budget and stay healthy, it’s also vital to lead an active lifestyle. Starting with your kindergarten gym teacher, people have been telling you that it is important to stretch your muscles regularly – and they’re right! Here’s what you need to know.

Why You Need to Stretch

To put it simply, stretching keeps your muscles healthy and flexible. Flexibility is important, according to experts at Harvard Medical School . Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight, weak, and unable to extend all the way. Weak muscles put you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage. A few minutes of stretching a day can make a major difference to your health.

Benefits of Stretching

Beyond maintaining critical flexibility, regular stretching has other benefits as well. Here are just a few of the benefits identified by Prevention Magazine :

  • Improved balance – Researchers have found that people who stretch regularly are less likely to trip and fall, likely due to improved fine-muscle coordination.
  • Better workouts – Healthy muscle flexibility makes it easier to maintain proper form during workouts, ensuring you reap the maximum benefits from each exercise.
  • Less stress – By relieving tight muscles, stretching tricks the body into believing that you are less stressed.

Stretching Safely

Before you start contorting your body into difficult yoga poses, please keep in mind a few guidelines for safe stretching. TheMayo Clinic recommends that you :

  • Always stretch warm muscles – Before stretching, warm up with light walking, jogging, or biking at low intensity for five to ten minutes. Or, consider stretching after your workout when your muscles are already warm.
  • Keep movements smooth – Avoid looking like an 80s workout video and try not to bounce when you stretch. Bouncing can actually contribute to muscle tightness and injury.
  • Stretch regularly – Flexibility can decrease rapidly without regular stretching. Add stretches into your regular workout routine to see ongoing improvement.

Unsure of where to start? Try YouTube for videos like this one with Denise Austin or look for local beginner yoga classes. Have other tips about stretching? Share them on our Facebook page!

To start saving on your medications, download your free prescription discount card from FamilyWize. Follow our blog for more healthy living tips!

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