Why Does Stretching Feel Good? The Benefits of Stretching
Nothing beats a good stretch before a workout. But why exactly do you feel rejuvenated afterward?
If you’re not currently stretching every day (even if you aren’t necessarily exercising vigorously outside of that), there are some good reasons why you need to start.
Why Does Stretching Feel Good?
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Stretching isn’t just good for your muscles. It also helps your brain and overall mood. Moreover, the reason stretching feels good is that it affects several areas of your body.
Stretching not only helps with the different systems of your body, but it also helps with overall mood, feeling, and energy. That’s why you see so many people start their day by stretching!
You Release Endorphins When You Stretch
Any kind of physical activity releases endorphins in your brain. This is your body’s natural feel-good chemical, so you experience a sense of euphoria after focusing on your muscles.
When muscles are tense, they can cut off circulation. This prevents nutrients and oxygen from getting where they need to go in the body.
With stretching, you help your body stay loose so that blood flows more easily.
Reduced Muscle Tension
Stretching is a good way to relax your body. When people start telling you that you look stiff, take their comments to heart and take up a stretch regimen every day, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
Reduced Level of Stress
Since your muscles don’t hold as much tension, you feel calmer and more at ease. It also helps prepare your body for the inherent stress of exercising, so you feel better afterward.
What are the Benefits of Stretching?
Endorphins, reduced muscle tension, and reduced stress are only part of the reason you want to consider stretching. It comes with numerous other benefits, as well in the long run.
For a quick TLDR, some of the benefits of stretching include improved flexibility and mobility, better posture, and stronger muscles. Let’s take a closer looK!
Tense muscles hold a greater likelihood of sustaining injury. You want to keep them loose, especially when it comes to your back.
Lower back pain can occur when you exercise improperly or place too much stress on your hip flexors and hamstrings. Give those muscle groups enough attention to where that doesn’t happen. Fortunately, certain yoga poses exist that specifically target those areas.
Stretching keeps you on your feet longer as it helps make muscles more flexible. Over time, you should notice an increased range of motion in your body in addition to enhanced posture.
Has your mother always told you to stand up straight? Slouching is often a result of overly tense muscles, so forcing them to relax helps you look your best.
By stretching, you help eliminate stretching and also maintain your body at an acceptable pose. Furthermore, when you do certain stretches, it can also provide a slew of other benefits like improved digestion, increased blood flow, and better mental health.
When Should You Stretch During the Day?
Credit: Medical News Today
The best time to stretch is first thing in the morning. This sets the tone for the rest of your day, so your muscles are nice and limber for anything you have going on. If you’re doing any other heavy lifting or work, you’ll also want to stretch before then.
For instance, what if you go to the gym?
Don’t start with any hard stretches. Rather, make sure your body is warm before you get into the full extent of your stretch. That way, your body will be ready to go and blood will be circulating when you start your standard gym workout.
So, takeaway: the best time to stretch is during the morning. Other than that, make sure you stretch extensively before you start any physical activity.
Do you still feel as though you’re not getting the most out of your yoga or stretching routine? Here are a few ways to kick it up a notch.
Keep a Balance When Stretching
Keep your feet firmly planted on the ground. After some time, you may feel like bouncing around to let loose some energy, but this only increases your chances of falling and hurting yourself.
Don’t Overdo a Stretch
You don’t want to go overboard trying to touch your toes. Only go as far as you feel a slight twinge within your muscles. Pulling something could sideline you for weeks.
Warmup Before You Stretch
A stretch shouldn’t be considered a warmup. Instead, go for a light jog prior to stretching so that your muscles are literally warmed up.
This will provide you with more flexibility when it comes time to stretch.
Turn Your Stretches into an Everyday Routine
Good habits are done every day. Even if you don’t lift weights or run every single day, stretching can still help with your daily regimen. It gets you limber and ready to tackle the day.
Plus, when you do it in the morning, you release endorphins first thing, so you feel better going into work or running errands.
You shouldn’t whip your limbs into stretching positions. Ease into them. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
If you’re having a hard time making a daily ritual out of stretching, consider getting a partner. Your spouse can stretch along with you, and there are plenty of poses designed for two people.
The most important thing is to simply do it. It may be hard initially, but once you routinely set aside 10 minutes every day to stretch, it will become second nature.
“Stretching: The new mobility protection.” Health Harvard, 8 Nov. 2016. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/stretching-the-new-mobility-protection
Bramble, Leigh-Ann PT, DPT, EdD, COMT. “Static vs. Dynamic Stretching: What Are They and Which Should You Do?” Hospital for Special Surgery, 19 Apr. 2021. https://www.hss.edu/article_static_dynamic_stretching.asp
Mayo Clinic Staff. “Stretching: Focus on flexibility.” Mayo Clinic, 31 Jan. 2020. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/stretching/art-20047931