Why is stretching so important – especially right now, and especially for young women

Why is stretching so important – especially right now, and especially for young women

If you’re a modern woman working from home, chances are you’re having some issues. Hint: Zoom fatigue being one of them!

It’s been over a year since the pandemic started. At first, only a few companies were encouraging people to work from home. Then things snowballed and now mostly everyone who has an office job is working from home.

It has become the new reality to use your kitchen table as your desk and to have (quite a few) Zoom meetings whilst sitting in bed. We’ve all had to adapt in this crazy world we’re now living in.

The biggest issue people have faced is finding time to prioritise themselves and in this stage of lockdown, finding time has become even more difficult. A modern woman is juggling a million things and finding time for herself and her fitness is probably the last thing she’s prioritising.

The long term effects working from home can have on your physical and mental health

The new way of adapting our bodies and working from home and remotely will definitely have a big impact on our health. The new ‘normal’ work day consists of staring at your screen for 8 hours or more with wrong posture, binge eating, excessive screen time and barely any movement.

This is sure to make people lazier, less inclined to do any activity and will certainly impact the long term health of the mind and body. We’ve all started to experience that Zoom fatigue, and people forget to get up, walk around, and stretch. It’s important to focus on giving yourself the time to engage in a fitness activity such as stretching so that the long term impact of the working from home experience won’t make you forget the basics of balancing out your day to keep fit, mentally and physically.

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Why you shouldn't skip your stretching

During a time of a global pandemic, our health should be our first priority. With the ever changing dynamics of a modern working woman, balancing the home, a full time work from home career, the family and all that it takes to maintain a modern day lifestyle, it is vital to maintain a healthy body and mind. 

Stretching is one of the most undervalued exercises that can help you live a healthy lifestyle.

The pandemic has changed our lives and many restrictions have made it more difficult for many people to get in their daily workout. Spending more time at home and working from a kitchen table or a makeshift home office has become our new normal, bringing high levels of discomfort.

We have multiple muscles across our hips, tightness in just one of them can really affect our range of motion. Tight hip flexors are the most common issue so we need to loosen them up. 

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The long term-effects of having a bad sitting posture

If you’re working or studying from home, sitting on a chair or couch for a large part of the day, you place your hips into partial hip flexion. (Think: your legs are bent so that your knees are raised toward your chest, just not all of the way up). Eight hours later, they’ve done nothing but chill out in a semi-contracted, shortened position, becoming tighter and tighter.

What’s more, tightness in any of these muscles around the hip can pull like tension wires on the pelvis and the leg. Over time, if not corrected, this can add stress on the knee and alter movement patterns of the pelvis. This creates even more discomfort up the chain and into the lower back. 

That’s why stretching is a key component to good health over a woman's lifetime. It not only keeps your body in good condition, helping to avoid injuries from repetitive use, but it can also stave off health problems as women age.

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The science behind stretching

Not convinced yet? Let’s quickly cover the science behind stretching. Stretching is an extremely important practice to add to your daily routine if you want to significantly improve your health. When you stretch, you receive multiple benefits for your body and your mind.

Not only does stretching clear your mind by allowing you to focus on your body, but it also releases endorphins.

After a long stretch, the blood flow to the muscles increases. Muscles are controlled by the nervous system, which has two main components: ‘sympathetic’ (fight or flight) and ‘parasympathetic’ (rest and digest). Static stretching increases activity in the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation. Although the heart rate may rise during a stretch, it tends to decrease after.

Stretching has multiple benefits for both your body and your mind. Incorporating stretching into your daily routine allows muscles to be well circulated and ultimately healthier.

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Time to take action: save your body from becoming chronically stiff or slouched

One of the issues many people have is that they don’t know where to start! If you’re brand new to stretching, chances are you feel a bit overwhelmed. Many of us have been avoiding stretching because we’ve felt it’s less exciting than HIIT, running or strength training since it doesn’t get the heart pumping as much. But then we realise how beneficial it is and we have all these questions on our heads: “How long do I need to stretch for?”, “Which muscle groups do I need to prioritise?”, “How can I become more flexible?”, “What if I can’t touch my toes, it’s too painful!”.

Sometimes the easiest thing you can do is simply start small and get deeper over time. Try some of these top stretches at home:

  • Quad stretch
  • Hamstring stretch
  • Thigh stretch
  • Hip stretch
  • Chest and shoulder stretch
  • Upper back stretch
  • Lower and upper back stretch
  • Bicep stretch
  • Tricep stretch

Even 5 minutes per day is better than nothing at all! So give any of these a go (especially back stretches if you are working on a computer).

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If you want to take more structured approach: try doing online stretching classes

Here is what you can do if you want to become more flexible and to release pressure and stiffness: join an online stretching class and don’t worry about having to know the perfect combination of stretches and the parts of your body you need to stretch. We ourselves have been there so we get you! After we attended our first class ever, we became ‘regulars’ at stretching and we got so hooked that we actually founded our own studio in London. We wanted to bring stretching to people in a fun, accessible way.

Last year, we moved our classes online – at first because of the pandemic, but then our clients kept giving us amazing feedback about how easy it was to just join in from their bedroom and follow along.

Our virtual guided sessions balance out the workout into three main parts which focus on energy, balance and simply stretching in the right way. The gravitas of stretching the right way hasn’t been emphasized enough and that’s exactly what we do in our stretching sessions. We add value to stretching which impacts your mind, body and soul, which makes you a happier and fitter individual.

Check out our class schedule to see what class excites you the most – we’ve added a Barre & Stretch fusion class as well as Tabata, so there is something for everyone’s taste! Don’t worry if you can’t commit to a certain day and time – we’ve launched On-Demand sessions specifically for this purpose, so people can access the stretching sessions at a time that is convenient to fit into their schedule when they choose. In either case, we encourage you to try our 7-day free trial and some of the videos we’ve posted on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.