Stretching feels good. Darn good. That sweet release in your arms, legs or back is like a punch to the hypothalamus. An instant stress-reliever that tells your crappy day to flush itself down the toilet.
But it doesn’t get all the glory of the Prom Queen cardio workout. Or the artistic reverence reserved for the balanced diet. It’s The Brady Bunch’s Jan of the fitness world. It gets the “Go away, Jan. No one has time for you. Oh, Jan.”
This middle child of exercise deserves a little recognition. After all, did you know that stretching burns calories? And it does so without too much sweating. You could do stretches on a first date and it’d be completely normal and ick-free (maybe). Also, stretching regulates breathing. Which, you know, is important, for, like, breathing and stuff.
Stretching is the perfect anecdote to your day-long impersonation of a stone edifice in an office chair. Every little move helps improve strength and flexibility.
So, who’s going to say it? Anyone? OK, we will. So, um, what do you stretch? What are the time-tested, only-things-that-are-certain-are-death-and-taxes types of stretches to do?
Well, we’d start with a few classic yoga moves like these. They’re pretty easy even for the most inflexible person, and the girl demonstrating them in this article doesn’t seem like some crazed gym rat that can simultaneously bend her legs over her head and snort protein powder up her nostrils. She seems like an okay gal. A happy pal who wants to buy you a dairy-free frozen yogurt. (Totally would go get that yogurt with her, by the way.) She’s got one of those faces that says her voice is soothing and her hair can be automatically swept up into the perfect messy bun. But you don’t even hate her for it because she just wants to help you stretch. Authentic.
You may learn to love stretching so much that you become one of those people with a sign on your door that says “Privacy, please. Stretching.” Stretching what, exactly, visitors won’t know, but you’ll be too deep into the good feels that it won’t matter. Or you’ll become one of those cheeky bumper sticker owners with a real gem that reads “Stretch This.” Classy.
Another perk of stretching? You can look at beautiful photos while you do it. Photos like these. Ones that happen to have a tiny Chester in them. Enjoy!