For increased flexibility and suppleness, and to help women avoid injury, stretching is a must. We all know that, right? But did you also know that stretching plays a vital role in your postpartum recovery and fitness?
It feels so good to give your tired muscles a big stretch. It unknots tension, lengthens limbs and gives your body a wonderful lightness. It energies you and helps you to relax. It makes you stand taller, which is anti-ageing.
Aside from the feel-good sensation of stretching and the conditioning effect this has on our muscles, there’s another big benefit of stretching: by alleviating tightness, you are able to achieve optimal alignment.
The impact of tight, sore muscles ricochets throughout the body. Short, taut hamstrings, in particular, impair correct pelvic alignment. This prevents you from being able to walk or move in a natural way.
If you thrust your chest or tuck your butt- rather than stacking your ribs, hips and pelvis in a straight line- pressure builds in the abdominal cavity and bears down (on the pelvic floor) and out (through the abdominal wall).
If you want to help your pelvic floor to do its supportive role naturally – holding up your internal organs, stopping you from leaking, and stabilizing your core –then beautiful, lengthening stretches are an essential part of the plan.
7 Benefits of Stretching
- Stress-busting: Stretching relaxes tense muscles, boosts the circulation and triggers the release of happy hormones (endorphins)
- Pain relief: Stretching releases muscles and alleviates discomfort and pain. Flexibility in your hamstrings, hip flexors and pelvis muscles relieves pressure on your lumbar spine which reduces low-back pain
- Increased potential: It’s pointless trying to build strength in tight, tense muscles. Muscles need to work their full range of motion to be strong.
- Prevention of “Mum Bum”: Walking in correct alignment, squatting and stretching your glute muscles effectively gives you a perkier derriere!
- Better alignment: The core muscles, quads, hamstrings and hip flexors need to be stretched out to rebalance your posture + alignment
- Lean shape: Well-stretched muscles are lengthened and leaner in appearance. Stretching also leads to better posture.
- Everything works better: A flexible, supple body is less prone to injury or pain, it moves as it should, and every part does its job better.