While research shows conflicting results about the benefits of stretching before and after exercise, a good stretch can do wonders for your body and mind. We asked three women to enjoy a stretch break.
Why? Research shows that stretching your muscles increases flexibility and range of motion. Firsthand experience shows that a good stretch feels amazing.
Our ladies react:
Jenny: I have terrible posture and stress only makes my bad habit worse. Correcting this issue is challenging as most techniques are either overly awkward or impossible to remember. Stretching, however, is different. I simply stretch out my core whenever I find myself slouching. The results are astonishing. At work I am confident and alert. At home I have more energy and don’t grimace in disgust when I walk by a mirror. Stretching is now an automatic reflex that’s working to fix my bad posture. Who knew something so simple could be so effective. Here I am, stretching away.
Kerry: If only I could live life on my yoga mat. I often take a sunrise class before I head into the office, but I need to do a better job stretching throughout the day, since I’m often hunched over my computer or sitting in meetings. This week, I tried taking a quick stretch break every hour, and it really forced me to take a posture check. I swear my shoulders are becoming permanently curved, and I carry my stress in my neck and upper back. I’m on a correction course, but I think I need to schedule reminders in my office calendar.
Megan: I’ve always believed in the healing power of meditation and yoga. It’s amazing how a simple stretch can increase blood flow, thereby positively affecting your mood, your immune system and the strength of your body. I try to find time to practice yoga at least three days a week. Yoga is inspirational in that it gives me time focus completely on myself, and my mental and physical well-being. I am able to return to my family, friends, business and responsibilities energized and rejuvenated. Of course, as a parent, my worlds often collide.
Our Everyday Inspiration series wants to inspire you with small ways to improve your life. We’ve asked 20 women to take on a variety of small challenges and share their results. See all of our Everyday Inspiration challenges here, and meet the women here.