I will gladly admit that I do not stretch nearly as often as I should. Just like with any other habit, though, changes to a routine have to be a conscious effort in the beginning. Even though as a massage therapist I know the benefits of stretching, I have found that exercising and stretching when I am not working has proven difficult. A colleague of mine who also does deep tissue work has an awesome analogy for our line of work. She compares deep tissue massage to pushing a manual lawn mower for about an hour at a time. Stretching regularly and often improves circulation, muscle function, and prevents injury.
Stretching when you wake up warms up the muscles tissue and gets the circulatory systems going. Throughout the course of the day, stretching helps keep your body warmed and prevents tension. At the end of the day you should stretch as part of a cool down from being active for more than 50% of the day. Even if you are not training for a marathon or higher level competition, stretching is a lifelong necessity that most of us take for granted.
My morning routine as far as warming up for the day consists of stretching and Tai Chi. Even if I am not scheduled to work, a proper warm up can be as energizing as a cup of tea or coffee. I love mornings like that.
Jennifer Roldan, LMP