Why You Need to Stretch…

Upward Facing dog exercise
We’re becoming less flexible. A study between 1966 and 2012 of American schoolchildren has shown that they’ve become less flexible, probably from a lack of activity and a more sedentary lifestyle. Its only since the invention of chairs that us humans have sat. Previously we rested by squatting on our haunches.

Stretching may be unnecessary part of maintaining mobility in old age. Generally remaining active seem to be just as useful. The interesting part of stretching lie in the more fringe research. A research in 2018 of over 1,000 Japanese men aged 35-59 showed that the stiffest participants had the stiffest arteries and more plaque in their arteries. This was independent of physical fitness levels (https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/8/1/e019370). A different study in Texas was looking to prove that strength training improved arterial flexibility. In reality strength training had no impact, whereas stretching improved arterial flexibility by 23% (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18391640/ ).

Why might this be? Well athersclerosis is an inflammatory condition. When you’re stretching you’re stretching not just muscle but fascia as well. Studies on rats have shown that stretching fascia has the surprising effect of releasing anti-inflammatory chemicals called resolvins.

And there are a lot of diseases that have a root in inflammation. Inflammation is a key component of many modern diseases; cancer, diabetes, auto-immune disease, depression.

So get stretching or join that yoga class it may be that it will do you more good than just remaining bendy into old age.