Most of us like a quick stretch first thing in the morning. But as a regular activity it can lengthen muscles and improve posture. Laura Day discovers a new flexible friend
Did you stretch when you got up this morning? Along with putting the kettle on and jumping in the shower, a morning stretch is a way of getting ourselves in gear before the day begins. But besides this brief, bleary-eyed burst of limbs, how often do you indulge?
This flexing of a muscle or tendon helps improve its elasticity. It’s an instinct (think about animals when they wake up) that leaves us feeling flexible, invigorated and relaxed. Regular exercise shortens your muscles, which is why stretching is incorporated into any cool-down to bring muscles back to their resting length. If we don’t do it, we become stiff, lose our range of movement and may develop pain.
‘Easy movement of our bodies is something we take for granted until it’s going or gone,’ says Ciaran Organ, founder of PureStretch classes. ‘I see fitness instructors in their 50s coming to stretch classes after noticing their body deteriorate with wear and tear from years of exercise. Regular stretching gives them greater flexibility and mobility.’