Get your stretch on

Happy Sunday, Folks! This morning as I brought out my laptop and my son asked what I was doing, he said, "you should blog about stretching today, Mom!" My ten-year-old son was born with a mild case of cerebral palsy, and with that comes muscle spasms, aches, and pains. Stretching has become a big part of our daily rituals. "Family stretch" has been incorporated into our nighttime routine, and now he looks forward to it each night.

Stretching has not only been great for him, but I look forward to each night as well. It has helped us sleep better and calm down before bed. Brady has inherited my tendency towards anxiousness and has a hard time winding down before bed each night.

There are numerous benefits to stretching and takes only 15 minutes out of your day. Even if you don't exercise daily, stretching can be beneficial to your daily routines. Here are some of the reasons I love to stretch each day:

  • Stress Relief-When we’re stressed, not only does our heart rate increase, but we tend to tighten our muscles.

  • Flexibility-Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy. We need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints.

  • Alleviate back pain-Stretching can help alleviate pain by loosening up tension in the muscles and increasing blood flow to the area.

  • Better Sleep- Stretching, as part of yoga, can improve your quality of sleep by reducing mental stimulation. When you're still, or stretching and breathing we go from sensory overload to a sense of slowing down and a quality of ease begins to run throughout the body.

If you suffer from any of the above, consider stretching for just a few minutes a day. You will be surprised at how much it helps. I like to incorporate a few yoga movements in our routine as well which adds to the stress relief benefit. I typically will do cat/cow, child's pose, and forward fold at the beginning and end of our routine. I hold each one for a few breaths and it has done wonders for my stress level and sleep routine. I promise you will notice a difference.

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