Because the human body is constantly in motion, it experiences constant stress from physical activity, also known as cumulative stress. When there is continual stress on the body, it will inevitably cause aches and pains. These pain responses are minor and often caused by micro-tears in muscles or ligaments that cause pain when stretched or contracted. Fortunately, these aches and pains usually subside once we have time to rest or take a break from our activities. However, if they persist, it may indicate problems in our lifestyle, or in rare cases, injuries or underlying health conditions. In this post, we will cover more information about how body aches and pains occur, what they might be caused by, and a variety of information about how stretching can relieve them.
Why does the Body Ache?
There are many different reasons why we might experience pain in our bodies. Stress, poor fitness habits, poor diet, and over-training are just a few examples of common causes of pain in the human body. Injuries like muscle strains, sprains, and pulls are also common causes of pain. Pain can even occur naturally through the aging process. As we age, our joints slowly degrade due to wear and tear, and we naturally lose some of our muscle mass and elasticity, which causes our joints to become more difficult to move without pain. Illnesses like arthritis can worsen the effects of joint pain and lead to further joint inflammation and damage over time. Some types of cancer, such as breast cancer, can cause the pain associated with muscle hypertrophy. These are just a handful of reasons why body aches might occur.
Why Does Stretching Help?
As explained earlier, muscle aches are often a result of cumulative stress, both from general movement and from specific activities. When we perform physical activities, we often experience small tears in the muscle fiber that do not cause pain until after the muscles have time to cool and contract. This is why we often do not notice soreness directly after a workout but feel it intensely the next day. One essential technique for preventing these aches and pains, especially surrounding physical activity and exercise, is by increasing muscle flexibility through static stretches
Static stretching means holding stretches for about 30 seconds or until you feel the muscles stretch. Stretching daily can release built-up tension in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons, reduce the effects of body aches, and even help reduce stress.
What kind of Stretching Works Best?
There are a variety of stretching techniques, each with its benefits and drawbacks. As aforementioned, static stretching is the best starting stretch to warm and loosen static and cold muscle structures. These stretches are usually the fastest and easiest to perform. Other varieties of a stretching include passive range of motion stretches and dynamic stretches. Dynamic stretching is often the most difficult to do, but allow for the deepest stretching throughout the muscles. One of the best forms of stretching are those practiced in yoga. Yoga is beneficial for many reasons. It can prevent diseases, improve cardiovascular health, increase strength and flexibility, and more. Yoga can also be a great way to help reduce body aches and pains. Yoga builds your core muscles, which helps to prevent lower back pain, fatigue, and other more common aches and pains experienced by athletes. Yoga also improves circulation in your body, which is beneficial for everyone but particularly useful for those who experience aches and pains.
Best Deep Stretches to Relieve Everyday Aches and Pains
For your daily stretching routine, you should perform static stretches first. Click here for more specific movements. These are stretches where you hold the position for about 30 seconds. You can then follow with a passive range of motion stretches where you move through a full range of motion again for about 30 seconds each. Next, try dynamic stretches where you perform a full range of slow, controlled movements. Both static and dynamic stretching increases blood flow to the muscles and joints, which is beneficial for injury prevention and overall muscle growth. Are you looking for a deeper stretch? Most stretches can be deepened by adding a slow twist to the core or looking in the opposite direction of your leading arm or leg.
Remember, stretching is different from sprinting or running. When you stretch, you lengthen a muscle, not break it down. This makes stretching very different from sprinting, which is a type of anaerobic activity that uses lactic acid as a source of energy. When you sprint, your muscles are under very high levels of stress, so they are very tight. All this means is that you cannot easily extend your joints. But on the other hand, stretching is an aerobic activity that uses oxygen to replenish your muscles. This means that your muscles are looser and more able to stretch. Keep your stretching motions easy, gradual, and fluid to avoid the overextension of your muscle tissues and address body aches and pains.
Aches and pains are a part of life. You will experience them sooner or later, no matter how healthy and fit you are. The good news is that these sensations aren’t something to fear. Instead, they signal that your body is preparing for stress or activity. They’re your body’s way of telling you that it needs some extra attention before it can go into overdrive again. Therefore, it is crucial that you carve out time to rest and practice daily stretching, most patients who report body aches and pains can notice a substantial improvement in their pain and overall quality of life.
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