The Benefits of Stretching Every Day
Updated: Aug 9, 2021
Did you know the benefits of stretching go far beyond increased flexibility?
Incorporating a daily stretch into your morning routine can help to relieve fatigue and stress, while also improving heart health, posture, and balance.
Types of stretching:
There are several different types of stretching. Dynamic and static stretching being the two most common. Dynamic stretches are more active forms of stretching. This type of stretching is great for warming up to prepare for vigorous exercise. Static stretching exercises entail moving muscles in a controlled, slow manner to their greatest length, holding that position for a period of time, and then repeating the movement.
Static stretching is a fairly new concept, only introduced in the 1980s by a Japanese sporting coach. After its conception, static stretching became wildly popular with athletes due to its great health benefits, such as:
Enhanced athletic performance
Decreased muscle tension
Reduced muscle pain
But stretching isn’t only for athletes, anyone can take advantage of the great health effects of stretching! Studies have found that stretching daily can produce great benefits like the ones below:
Adding a daily stretching routine can actually help relieve chronic fatigue and low energy. A 2015 meta-analysis found that integrating stretching into a daily exercise intervention program significantly helped alleviate cancer-related fatigue.
Stretching after a heavy workout will also improve post-workout muscle fatigue and low energy. Stretching increases the blood flow to the recently strained muscles, which will delay the onset of muscle fatigue. Try these stretching to lessen your fatigue:
Stretching your calf muscles, hips, hamstrings, and quads will help improve your balance. A 2016 study on a group of elderly people found that stretching the lower extremities will improve balance and reduce the likelihood of falling.
Loosening your muscles and aligning the joints in your lower extremities will make moving throughout your day much easier. Try these stretches to improve balance:
When you’re stressed, your muscles will feel the effects too. Physical and emotional stress cause your muscles to tighten up in response. So, when stretching to relieve stress, you should focus on areas of the body that hold tension when you’re stressed, such as the neck, shoulders, and upper back.
Tension and stress headaches can also be relieved by stretching. Try these stretches to induce stress relief:
Without some form of daily stretching, your muscles can become imbalanced, resulting in bad posture. A simple daily stretch can even out and lengthen your muscles, which will allow for better spine alignment. One study found that stretching and strengthening certain muscle groups can reduce musculoskeletal pain and restore proper posture.
Good posture will also reduce stress on ligaments and muscles, which will, in turn, reduce your risk of injury. Try these stretches to improve your posture:
Increase heart health:
Stretching may offer benefits to people who have been diagnosed with cardiovascular health concerns, diabetes, or those who are trying to reduce their risk of such conditions. A 2020 study in the Journal of Physiology found that stretching decreased stiffness in the arteries and increased blood flow and dilation. These perks will provide health benefits for those with heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Keep in mind that stretching alone can not take the place of other methods to improve heart health. Stretching will only supplement weight management, healthy eating, and prescribed medication in improving your heart health. Try these stretches to improve your heart health:
How to get into stretching:
While everyone can easily do a stretch, it’s important to prioritize proper form and technique when incorporating new stretches into your routine. Otherwise, you might get injured. Also, the benefits of stretching listed above will, unfortunately, not happen overnight, it will take several weeks of consistent stretching to garner such results.
While you can stretch any time of the day you want, Dr. Johnson prefers to get her stretch in when she wakes up in the morning. Stretching first thing in the morning will help to relieve any pain or tension that might have spurred while sleeping. A morning stretch routine will also increase blood flow and get your body prepared for the fay ahead.
Stretching is only one piece of the puzzle that is optimal health. But incorporating new stretching techniques to your already healthy lifestyle can offer great improvements!
To learn more about how Dr. Johnson can guide you on the path to optimal health, click here to contact us! Or call 276-235-3205 to schedule your complimentary 15-minute discovery call.
The Johnson Center for Health services patients in-person in our Blacksburg and Virginia Beach / Norfolk locations. We also offer telemedicine for residents of Virginia and North Carolina!