According to mobility guru and author Dr Kelly Starrett: “All human beings should be able to perform basic maintenance on themselves.”
Stretching helps keep you well – your body stays limber, flexible and less prone to injuries. Nairobi physiotherapist Chebet Chumo explains: “Stretching is important to ease the muscle fibres and loosen the muscles to avoid muscle spasm and cramps.”
Our bodies are designed to move daily. Activities like prolonged sitting, standing and sleeping lead to tight, tense muscles. Stretching prevents and alleviates tension that causes sore neck, lower back pain, creaking knees and stiff joints.
• Increased flexibility, balance and co-ordination
• Higher energy levels
• Improved moods
• Greater productivity
• Clearer thinking ability
• Stress relief
When you stretch, your muscles get stronger, your posture improves and you appear taller and more confident. When done properly, stretching greatly improves fitness levels because it teaches your body to use its full range of motion.
Effective stretches for flying include:
• Arm stretches: Clasp your hands behind your back and pull your shoulders back.
• Neck rotations: Gently twist your neck from side to side as if looking over your shoulder. Gradually bring your neck down in a semi-circle on each side. Finally, make a complete circle slowly looking towards the ceiling and downwards.
• Ankle rotations: Twist each foot around in circles.
• Leg lifts: Keep your back straight with your arms on the armrest. Use your core muscles to raise your legs.
It’s easy to fit in some stretching:
1 At work, get up and do some stretches every couple of hours. Better still, invest in a standing desk.
2 If you have kids, stretch together in the morning or evening. Do downward dogs with your toddlers; get down on all fours and curve your back like a cat with your teenager.
You have over 600 muscles and 200 bones ready to support you. How are you supporting them? Start stretching today.
Watch Dr Kelly Starrett’s YouTube channel featuring short daily mobility videos