Have youever seen a dog jump right up from a nap without stretching? With the exception of the doorbell or a not-so-sneaky bunny or squirrel all 3 of my dogs go through their stretches after being lazy for any period of time.
What can we as two-legged, sit-in-front-of-the-computer-too-much humans learn from this? That if you have been stationary for a length of time it goes a long way towards proper posture and movement to stretch a bit before transitioning to walking, bending or exercising.
Stretching promotes circulation which begins to warm up the muscles. Active stretching, where you are flexing some muscles as you stretch others (as demonstrated so perfectly in these dog photos), is best before activity or exercise. Active stretching not only increases circulation but it unifomrly fires the motor neurons that control your muscles and is similar to starting up an airplane where so many switches need to be flipped.
A simple standing stretch reaching to the ceiling helps counter act stagnant desk posture just as a lunge stretch with your foot on your car’s bumper helps to counter act tight hips after a long drive. When awaking in the morning before I even leave the bed I do a long full body stretch along with a few ankle rolls and then sit up to reach up and stretch my sides and chest.
Take a few moments to enjoy how good this feels and know that you are doing good for your body!