The Benefits of Stretching*

Monday, 6 June 2016, By jack Smith

Have you ever watched a dog as the arise from slumber or after a period of inactivity?  A dog will instinctively stretch and move its body through a range of motion, as if to repair and prepare its body for the daily activities.  Whilst most people are fully aware of the benefits of regular exercise and tracking nutrition, stretching is a underutilized tool which can ensure great results.

The most established and obvious benefit of stretching is to help improve flexibility and range of motion. As the body ages, muscles can become tighter and range of motion in the joints can be minimized. A lack of flexibility can cause movement to become slower and less fluid, making an individual more susceptible to muscle strains or other soft tissue injuries. This can put a damper on active lifestyles and even hinder day-to-day, normal motions. An increase in flexibility is accompanied by improved balance and coordination.

Chronically tense and tight muscles can also contribute to poor posture. Stretching helps to ensure correct posture by lengthening tight muscles that pull areas of the body away from their intended position. Stretching the muscles of the lower back, chest and shoulders can help keep the spine in better alignment and improve overall posture.

While it is still widely debated as to whether or not stretching can help prevent injury, it has been proven to help increase blood flow to the muscles. This increase in flow brings with it a greater nutrient supply to muscles, thereby reducing muscle soreness and helping to speed recovery from muscle and joint injuries. The less sore your muscles are, the less painful it will be to work those same muscles and to exercise in general.


Everyone has stress. A buildup of stress causes your muscles to contract, becoming tense. This tension can go on to have a negative impact on just about every part of your body. Like all types of exercise, flexibility exercises like stretching have powerful stress-busting abilities. Spending just a short amount of time (10-15 minutes) stretching each day can help calm the mind, providing a mental break and giving your body a chance to recharge.

To get the most out of your stretching routine keep in mind the following:

Before you begin your stretching, your muscles should be warm. Do a warm up of light walking, biking or jogging at a low intensity for 5 to 10 minutes. Or better yet, stretch after the workout when your muscles are already warm.


Instead of trying to stretch your whole body, focus on a key area of the body at a time. Spend longer on each stretch and include more stretches for each area. If you are aware that certain muscles are tighter than others, focus your attention on those as you stretch. focussing on stretching the muscle group for 15-20s is ideal and taking it through its full range of motion, often this may require either a partner to help or a stretching aid.

Incorporate a stretch sequence or program to monitor your progression in your range of motion, then keeping accountable to making sure it gets performed at elast every other day.

*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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