How Stretching Could Seriously Improve Your Life

Woman stretching at yoga

Seriously improve your life just by stretching – sounds hyperbolic, right? It’s not! Millions of people around the world suffer from chronic pain, tension, or difficulty with activities of daily living simply because they aren’t stretching enough. Nobody wants to be in pain, or struggle to tie a shoe – these are things that can negatively impact your life in a serious way, and stretching will improve that.

Let’s break it down.

Here are the top 6 benefits of stretching, and how stretching will seriously improve your life:

Relieves muscle pain/tension

If you’ve ever felt pain or tightness in your body you’ll notice you instinctively want to stretch. When you hold a muscle in a contracted state long-term, it “forgets” how to lengthen to it’s full capacity. When you do this over and over again, you feel muscle pain and tension. Stretching will counteract this chronic contraction of the muscles and help to relieve that nagging pain and tension you feel.

Improves range of motion to help with activities of daily living

Earlier I said that nobody wants to struggle to tie a shoe. Unfortunately, that is a hard reality for people who don’t stretch. Common activities of daily living can be severely lacking if you don’t train your flexibility. You often hear the phrase “use it or lose it”, and that is very true with muscle length. If you find yourself struggling to put on pants, tie a shoe, pick up dropped items, or get up from the floor, you should start stretching every day! If you want to avoid these struggles, you should also stretch every day.

Improves energy

A relaxed muscle uses less energy than a contracted muscle. By stretching your tight muscles, they will be in a more relaxed state while at rest, which leads to energy preservation. Stretching your muscles helps you to use your energy more efficiently, so you’ll feel less tired. Additionally, stretching is beneficial for your circulation, which helps with energy levels. If you feel some amount of chronic fatigue, you should start stretching daily to help improve your energy levels.

Reduces delayed onset muscle soreness

If you’ve ever been extremely sore after a workout, you know DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). Stretching before and after a workout can reduce DOMS after a workout, and it’s always a good idea to do some light stretching between heavy workout days to reduce the soreness. When you have DOMS your muscles are tight from the workout and the extra lactic acid in the tissues, stretching will help to release the contracted muscles and move the lactic acid.

Increase circulation

In this study, patients who had a heart attack were given five stretches to do. The results found stretching helped to improve the blood flow in the veins and arteries. Stretching also improved the function of the inner cellular layer of the arteries. This shows that stretching may help to increase circulatory function in general and is a good idea for everyone to help increase circulation. Any time you move a muscle, you are directly helping improve your circulation since your arteries and veins innervate through your muscular system. In this way, stretching directly impacts your circulatory system in a positive way.

Now, make sure you’re stretching daily if you don’t want to end up being unable to tie your shoe! If you struggle with stretching on your own, consider taking a yoga class or a flexibility class. Additionally, Thai Massage is an excellent bodywork modality for you if you want more of a stretch that you can’t get on your own. Thai Massage goes well in combination to a well-structured exercise and flexibility routine. Book an appointment with us at Unwind Bodywork here. Do you want to know the three things you must do if you want to be flexible? Read my post about it here. Want to ensure you’re stretching properly? Check out this post.

Thai Massage
Thai Massage

Sources

Hotta K, Kamiya K, Shimizu R, Yokoyama M, Nakamura-Ogura M, Tabata M, Kamekawa D, Akiyama A, Kato M, Noda C, Matsunaga A, Masuda T. Stretching exercises enhance vascular endothelial function and improve peripheral circulation in patients with acute myocardial infarction. Int Heart J. 2013;54(2):59-63. doi: 10.1536/ihj.54.59. PMID: 23676363.

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