While most understand how essential exercise can be to our overall health, not many people are aware of how powerful stretching can be. You might only consider stretching to be solely part of yoga. However, this isn’t the case, and it’s important to understand how beneficial stretching can be on its own
I, myself, stretch even when I’m not working out. As a separate practice, stretching can be something that helps you sleep better and increases your blood circulation. Of course, it’s also recommended before you hit the gym, go for a run, or any other physical activity.
Physical benefits aside, though, stretching can also offer a range of benefits for your mental health and frame of mind. This is because the body and the mind are both intertwined together. So, when stretching, you’re reducing the impact of co-existing conditions between any chronic pain and mental trauma.
Let’s take a closer look at stretching to understand why it can be so beneficial for your mental well-being:
Why Should You Stretch?
Do you want to improve your mental outlook and get some exercise at the same time? You can accomplish this goal when you stretch your joints and muscles. Any type of stretching, such as yoga, can help you relieve stress and make you feel better mentally and physically. Moreover, you do not need to pay a lot of money on fitness equipment or spend extra hours at a gym.
When you stretch, your body produces feel-good chemicals, called endorphins. Endorphins are substances that engage with the brain’s receptors to lessen feelings of pain. When this occurs, the endorphins also make you feel more positive.
This positive reaction can be compared to the way you feel when you enjoy a movie, spend time with someone you like, or savor your favorite dessert. Who would have thought that one simple movement–stretching–could do you so much good?
How Stretching Can Benefit Your Mental Health & Well-Being
Helping You Manage Stress
You can better manage your stress by stretching, as the activity releases muscular tension, thereby relieving stress.
It’s a proven fact, but stress can have many adverse effects on our health, even without realizing it. A lot of adults struggle with stress-related conditions that could be debilitating, such as:
- Severe migraines/headaches
- Lethargy and low productivity levels
Unfortunately, if you don’t manage your stress properly, it could lead to other more serious conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, severe anxiety, depression, obesity, and diabetes.
Boosting Your Energy Levels
The increased level of blood flow will revitalize you so you will also feel more energetic, thereby allowing you to do more activities with less anxiety.
Enhancing Your Inner Peace & Calm
If you want to feel calmer and more peaceful, stretching is the answer. That is because stretching gives you a chance to regroup by rejuvenating your circulation.
Tips For Stretching Properly
Keep the following suggestions in mind when you stretch. Doing so will dispel some of the myths.
1. Warm Up Before You Stretch
When you stretch, you need to warm up first, as stretching will not otherwise work and can lead to injury. Therefore, warm up by walking or jogging. Afterward, you can stretch before you proceed with a more intense workout.
2. Emphasize Your Tight & Sore Muscles
To reduce muscle soreness and tightness, you need to focus on the tighter and sorer muscles first. Once you stretch these muscles, you will find that it will be easier to move and the muscle soreness will subside.
3. Don’t Bounce When You Stretch
Try not to bounce when you stretch, as you can tear and injure your muscles. If this occurs, you will have difficulty with mobility, as a tear can cause scarring.
Instead, make sure you hold each stretch for around 15 seconds to one minute during three or four sets. Adjust your stretching to how sore you feel and the muscles you are targeting.
4. Stretch For at Least 10 Minutes a Day
You don’t have to spend a great deal of time stretching. You can take 10 minutes out of your daily routine to stretch.
Plus, you only need to do it about twice a week to realize optimum benefits. Make sure you follow a regular schedule when you stretch so you can enhance your flexibility and enjoy more fluid movements.
Make Sure You’re Stretching Properly
While, as you can see, stretching can be extremely beneficial for both your mental and physical health, it’s critical that you understand the right technique to avoid injuring yourself.
Improper stretching can actually do more harm than not stretching at all. Especially if you’ve already injured your muscle and attempt to stretch it. If you feel any pain when stretching, it’s important to ease up on the affected muscle to prevent damaging it even more.
Additionally, you should emphasize the major muscle tendons in your body including your:
If you’re stretching your back, we recommend buying a piece of equipment called a back stretcher or inversion table for lumbar traction. These products help you release tension in the right muscles and make stretching much easier than attempting to do it alone.
When it comes to stretching, the routine is everything. Keep up with it for optimal results. After all, the more you stretch, the more your body and mind will benefit from it.
If you’re looking to work out more often or simply want to take a break from the hustle and bustle of your everyday life so you can recharge your mind and body, then stretching is ideal for you!