No competent doctor, fitness instructor, trainer, etc. has ever discredited the benefits of stretching. Here are 11 benefits that stretching can provide to both your mind and body.
Helps Improve Your Mood
Stress from your everyday life whether it be something minor like missing a green light or major like an illness in your family all builds up in your muscles. As your muscles carry this stress they begin to tense and contract. So what started as a mental feeling has now made its way through your body causing you to feel physical side effects. And having this constant pain can also be taxing on you mentally thus coming full circle. Stretching allows your muscles to relax and release that stress and tension. Your blood begins flowing, endorphins get released and your body and mind feels rejuvenated.
Helps Improve Your Posture
Your muscles in your chest, shoulder, and back all pull away from your spine, causing misalignment from the spines natural position. Stretching helps lengthen those muscles and relieve the tension they are producing on your spine. This allows the spine to sit naturally in the correct position. Thus you are less likely to slouch due to the relaxation of the muscles that are pulling on your spine.
This one is a no-brainer. Stretching your muscles and tendons out regularly reduces muscle contraction. As a result you gain an increased range of motion which does wonders for your body. For one you are less likely to get injured when doing strenuous activity. On top of this though with an increased range of motion the energy required for said activities lessen.
Stretching out your muscles and tendons relaxes the tension within them. As a result blood flow is increased and it allows more oxygen to reach your muscles. More oxygen going to your muscles means that it takes longer for them to fatigue and have to resort to producing lactic acid (which is the cause of muscle aches and burning while working out).
Increases Muscle Durability
Blood not only carries oxygen to your muscles but the nutrients they require as well, such as magnesium and potassium. With and increased blood flow, your muscles are able to receive more nutrients. Which in turn strengthens them and reduces the likelihood of injury.
Gives You More Energy
When we are inactive our muscles contract which give us a feeling as if we are drained. Stretching allows our blood to start flowing more freely throughout our whole body. With our blood flowing both our mind and body are awakened allowing us to overcome that feeling of listlessness.
Promotes Blood Flow
The key to all of the benefits of stretching so far has been blood flow. Our blood nourishes our muscles and organs by transferring oxygen and nutrients to them. This reduces muscle soreness and cuts down on your recovery time after exercising. It also helps reduce your heart rate because your heart does not have to exert itself as much to pump blood throughout your body.
Helps You Sleep
Stretching before bed relaxes your muscles and gives your whole body a relaxed feeling which helps you drift off to sleep faster. It also helps with soreness when you wake up. Sleeping in a more easy and relaxed state lets your body remain still when you sleep so you don’t end up in an uncomfortable position all night.
Relaxes Your Mind
As said before, stretching reduces tension throughout your body and increases blood flow all of which helps relax your mind. Removing that stress from your mind allows you think more clearly and can even motivate your productivity.
Increases Your Strength
Paired with strength training, stretching after your routine can help supplement your muscle gains. Essentially you are tearing your muscles when you are doing strength training. So when your body repairs those muscles they begin to grow. Stretching the areas you just got done targeting in your routine can help tear more fibers which will lead to more muscle growth.
Promotes Joint Health
Stretching is not only beneficial to your muscles, but to your tendons as well. Tendons are what connects your muscles to your bones which give your body locomotion. Stretching can help keep your joints supple and reduce the tension that your body puts on them. With that reduced tension you are less likely to get some sort of tendon injury which usually is very serious.
See here for a list of the best stretches for each body part.