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The benefits of stretching in the morning include mental release and relaxation, relief from muscle tension and greater range of movement. Stretching can even enhance posture by strengthening the muscles that support the back, according to the Mayo Clinic. A stretching routine is a positive way to infuse fitness into busy mornings, and it can be a welcome mental respite to help get your day off on the right foot.
Shake Off Stiffness
Body stiffness in the morning is a nearly universal experience. It can be caused by tight muscles following the previous day's exercise, or may simply be a result of the body's position during sleep. Even sedentary lifestyles, involving copious amounts of sitting at a desk or on the couch, can lead to creaky joints and tight muscles when you wake. Light stretching in the morning is all it takes to shake off grogginess and limber up for the day ahead. Stretching helps slightly raise the body's core temperature, loosening up muscles and preparing them for activity. Morning stretches also help the spine stay supple and agile, according to an вЂњEssence MagazineвЂќ report with Dr. Asar Ha-Pi, director of A New Horizon Health Center.
Mind Over Matter
Stretching not only helps your body feel better at the kickoff of a busy day, but it also warms up the mind. In a 2011 interview with вЂњHealth Magazine,вЂќ вЂњThe Power of SlowвЂќ author Christine Louise Hohlbaum recommends stretching as a beneficial break from an often frazzled morning routine. Before stepping foot in the shower, incorporate a stretch to release mental tension and enter the day in state of zen. Stretching also accelerates the release of mood-enhancing endorphins, according to certified personal trainer Kristin Anderson.
The Center for Sports Health at the Cleveland Clinic reports that proper stretching allows individuals to reap the benefits of flexibility, which the clinic's experts deem highly important to health and well-being. In an interview with the National Women's Health Resource Center, fitness expert Joan Pagano notes that flexibility reverses the effects of daily wear and tear and aids in general mobility and muscle elasticity. As the body ages, flexibility becomes key in preventing injury, and a routine stretching plan helps ensure greater ease of movement for years to come.
Circulation and Strength
According to the Cleveland Clinic, stretching helps the circulatory system better deliver nutrients to muscle tissue, driving the body to perform better in daily activities and fitness efforts. Beyond that, stretching is not just a way to elongate the muscles through flexibility, but it can even increase strength, according to an interview with certified personal trainer Michael Schiemer in вЂњShape Magazine.вЂќ Research conducted at Florida State University found that stretching builds muscle mass in the same way strength training does - by creating small tissue tears that are then repaired by the body, according to researcher Jacob Wilson, Ph.D., in an interview with вЂњFitness Magazine.вЂќ