We need to stretch because the human body (and everything else) is constantly being pulled towards the earth’s center with gravitation. So the bones and muscles are being compressed slightly all of the time. That’s why it feels so good as kids to jump up and down. We free up the compression and loosen up the spaces between the joints. We just know it’s fun!
As adults the weight and pull is heavier so we may suffer from stiffness or lower back aches from time to time. The more we sit, the more compression in the spine. Yoga and walking with long strides help to stretch out the body. After an intense workout with weights or cardio we should stretch out. We should practice breathing, long and slow, even breaths through the nose, to get the body ready for stretching. It doesn’t have to take a long time.
After my hikes with my clients or friends we hang our torsos over our legs, folded in half. We just hang and sway a little bit from side to side. This relieves the pressure on the lower back and loosens up the hip joints. The neck feels especially good when hanging out like this. Our heads are heavy!
A yoga class of any kind is a great purposeful stretch for a longer period of time. Usually yoga loosens up and relieves the body parts from the gravitational pull from the earth.
If one has access to an inversion table, it also reverses gravity for a little while. I suggest 5-10 minutes daily.
I hope this helps you, dear readers.
-Author and Creator of the Superior Self series