Why Taking Stretch Breaks Are So Important

Did you know that the average office worker sits for a shocking 15 hours a day? And that doesn’t even account for the people who need to take long commutes to and from work.

This blog will cover some of the most problematic aspects of prolonged sitting, and what you can do about it.

Negatives of Not Stretching

Stretching isn’t something that’s only performed by runners or dancers. From office workers to students, everyone can benefit from flexible, strong, and healthy muscles. This is what happens if you don’t stretch and sit for long hours throughout the day.

Reduced Mobility

Think of your muscles like a rubber band. When rubber bands are put to use, they are able to withstand more “pull” without snapping just like your muscles. If you put your muscles and joints to use, they’ll tighten up and your range of motion will be shortened. Reduced mobility may result in pain, bad posture, and make daily activities harder to accomplish.

Increased Risk of Injury

Reduced mobility and risk of injury go hand-in-hand. People with reduced mobility are more likely to accidentally injure themselves. You might be picking up something from the floor or just going about your day, but suddenly, you’ll pull a muscle. That’s because tight muscles offer less leeway than healthy muscles.

Pain and Discomfort

Face it, sitting all day hurts (in the short-run and the long run). You’ll experience overall muscle tension, and pain almost everywhere. Neck, shoulder, back, hips, knees, wrists, and the list keeps going on. Without regular stretching, your body gets cold. Always have the urge to crack your neck because it’s still? That’s because you aren’t stretching enough. Eventually, and to greater degrees, you are likely to pull or strain your muscles.

Weight Gain

According to Healthline, moving causes your muscles to produce molecules like lipoprotein lipase. These particular molecules assist to process fat and sugars that you eat, and ultimately help to maintain weight. If you don’t stretch or at least move around, your rear end is at a greater risk of widening. Unsurprisingly, one study found that men who spent more time sitting gained more weight around the stomach region — the most dangerous spot for fat to accumulate.

Mental Health

Moving around and being pain-free makes people happy. When you don’t allow yourself a stretch break, you’ll be more stressed and annoyed by the pain and stiffness you’ll feel.

How to Implement Stretch Breaks

Ideally, every 30 to 60 minutes, you want to take a 5-minute stretch break. A “stretch break” could simply be walking in place, going up and down some stairs, or shimmy around the office. If you have a specific target area (e.g. chronically stiff neck), you may want to search online and develop a routine for yourself. The important thing is that you are consistent with your stretch breaks, and keep doing them.

Get moving, and remember to look at stretch breaks as something fun and healthy — not a chore!