Today we’re exploring the benefits of stretching! As a personal trainer and fitness instructor, people often tell me about their aches and pains. I guess it just comes with the territory! Sometimes this topic comes up in the course of a conversation, and sometimes I bring it up when I notice something different about their posture. And when I dig a little deeper into what may be going on, stretching (or lack thereof) is at the root of the problem.
I know…stretching exercises can seem so mundane and you probably would rather use your time to do other things. But the multiple benefits of stretching are tremendous! In today’s post, I’m going to share with you 17 of my favorite benefits of stretching, and why you should embrace it now
1. Stretching Improves M
Mobility relates to how your body moves and how your muscles work together. If one muscle is tight, another muscle may not be able to function properly. You can keep your muscles in harmony, as well as enable your body to move as it’s been designed, by stretching more frequently.
2. Stretching Helps Restore Muscles to Their Proper L
Muscles are designed to shorten (the contraction) and lengthen (the extension). Stretching helps muscles do both. When muscles are at their proper length they can work together to contract, lengthen, and isolate. But without proper stretching, muscles become tight (can’t lengthen) or are too weak (can’t contract). And if muscles are too tight or too weak, imbalances within the body will occur.
3. Stretching May Reduce the Possibility of I
Your body is more susceptible to injury when muscle lengths are distorted. You can prevent injury and increase your body’s range of motion by stretching more often.
4. Stretching Helps Your Muscles Repair Faster
Have you ever been sore or stiff after a workout? Stretching can help with that too! Not only can stretching help decrease your soreness, but it can also help you recover faster so you’re ready to exercise again.
5. Stretching May Improve S
Have you ever tried to sleep with a sore back, tight neck, and/or tight shoulders? It’s difficult and miserable because you’re uncomfortable. It’s no wonder that sleep is often disrupted in that scenario. Stretching those tight muscles will help you feel more relaxed and better able to rest at night.
6. Stretching Improves P
As a result of normal, everyday activities (e.g., driving, sitting for long periods of time, working with different forms of technology), most people have postural imbalances. In addition, stressful situations can compromise your posture due to altered breathing patterns and secondary muscles taking over the role of primary muscles. Stretching can help to alleviate those muscular imbalances and promote better posture.
7. Stretching Improves F
If you have postural imbalances (as noted above), you probably have less flexibility too. A sedentary lifestyle, repetitive movements, and working with all forms of technology can create muscle imbalances and impact your flexibility. Stretching encourages the muscles surrounding your joints to return to their proper length.
8. Stretching Helps You Build
Stretching helps to overcome muscle imbalances and helps to increase your body’s range of motion. It also encourages muscle growth. Stretching reduces muscular tension, which can inhibit your muscles’ ability to grow after being exerted. So what does this mean? You can build stronger muscles by incorporating stretching into your exercise program!
9. Stretching Improves Blood C
Stress leads to shallow breathing and inadequate oxygen within the body. This creates tension in the body such as knots in various muscles, and it also restricts blood flow to the heart and other major organs. Stretching helps decrease the side effects of stress and helps restore proper blood circulation.
10. Stretching Helps Build E
A few years ago, a study was conducted and it found that regular stretching may enhance performance, make people stronger, and increase their endurance. Having muscle endurance means that you can train harder for longer. Great muscle endurance has benefits outside of the gym too. Muscle endurance can also improve your energy levels, help you sleep better, and improve overall health.
11. Stretching Helps to Relieve Stress
When you’re stressed, your body gets really tense. Stress can lead to secondary muscles becoming more predominant and thus overused. That’s where stretching comes in—it interrupts your body’s natural defense mechanisms and provides relief to your tense body. And it helps the tight, overused secondary muscles return to their proper length so they can function properly with the primary muscles.
12. Stretching Helps Improve Neuromuscular E
The nervous system is a giant communication network within the body. It’s constantly giving out information/instructions to the body, and receiving feedback from the body. It tells muscles when to contract, lengthen, or stabilize in all three planes of motion. Simply put, stretching helps muscles effectively respond to instructions from the nervous system. But if the muscles can’t respond (because of tightness or weakness), the body will compensate accordingly. That could lead to muscle imbalances, poor posture, improper movement, and/or injury.
13. You Can Stretch A
You may be more motivated to stretch while you’re in the gym. But technically, you can stretch anywhere as long as you have some space! That means you can stretch while you’re on vacation or traveling for work.
14. Stretching Doesn’t Require Special Equipment
Yes, there are all kinds of equipment that you can use for stretching (foam roller, yoga wheel, etc.) But you can also have an effective stretching session without any equipment. To do a static stretch, just hold your body into the stretch for 30 seconds.
15. A Little Goes a Long Way
Do you have 5 or 10 minutes? Well, then you have time to stretch! You can do a combination of static stretching (i.e., holding a stretch for 30 seconds), and that will take no more than 5 to 10 minutes out of your life. Believe me, you’ll do your muscles a world of good!
16. Stretching Has Anti-Aging Benefits
“A body in motion stays in motion“. Staying fit and looking young is about keeping the body moving (and not sedentary) by way of an exercise program. But any exercise program should also incorporate stretching because it helps to reduce muscle soreness and reduce the chance of injury.
17. Stretching Can Be Done at Any Fitness Level and Can Be Progressed
Stretching isn’t just for those who are new to fitness…it’s for everyone at any level! Static stretching is appropriate for any level of fitness, but for those at more advanced levels of
Can you tell that I’m passionate about the benefits of stretching?!! I do believe in it because stretching has helped me tremendously as I’ve increased my level of fitness. I’ve been able to regain flexibility, reduce stress, and grow stronger muscles as a result of a consistent stretching routine. I hope that you’ve been encouraged to explore the benefits of stretching and that you’ll add it into your exercise program.
By the way, are you looking for ways to start and keep a fitness routine? Check out my post here! And, if you have questions about how to incorporate stretching into your exercise program, just let me know!
Mrs. Traylor is a Fitness Instructor, NASM Certified Personal Trainer & Nutrition Coach, AFPA Certified Prenatal and Postnatal Fitness Specialist, wife, and momma who provides actionable advice for positive lifestyle changes with fitness, nutrition, and wellness. Read about Wendy’s inspiring entrepreneurial journey, and subscribe to Wendy’s newsletter here!