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The Benefits of Stretching

senior fitness with meredith

Life can be filled with chaos and stress. 

Soon joints begin to stiffen, backs hurt, and you find yourself moving differently as you feel tension and pain. Stretching is one way to help remove stress from your life and your body. There is a strong correlation between stretching and relieving stress.

Stress can restrict blood flow, leading to knots in the muscles in the shoulders and neck. According to the Mayo Clinic, “stretching increases blood flow to the muscles and aids circulation.” Improving circulation allows muscles to relax, leading to greater heart health and cardiovascular function. Stretching also promotes the circulation of new blood to the brain, which can result in mood elevation, allowing any stress to roll off your body and mind.

When bodies are tight, you are more susceptible to pain and injury. Muscles tense up, and you don’t move as freely or might not want to move at all.

Restriction of movement or painful movement can bring on stress simply because it’s harder to get around. It can cause you to miss workouts or social engagements, adding to the stress and decreased quality of life. Taking time to loosen the muscles, especially those in areas that notoriously collect tightness (such as the lower back, hips, and neck) will make you feel more mobile, and your overall quality of life will see improvement. 

Stretching will ease fatigue, impatience, lack of sleep, and disability while improving function, and assisting with decreased need for medications used for treatments.

When holding a stretch, we tend to allow the breath to stretch out as well. Harvard researchers discuss the benefits of deep breathing to soothe the body and release stress. While deep breathing might seem unnatural, they say it promotes full oxygen exchange, which can slow the heartbeat and lower or stabilize blood pressure, inducing a more relaxed state of being.

Carving out time to stretch and relieve the body of tension will help to reduce stress in your life. The benefits are immediate, and the more you stretch, the better you will feel!

Stay Happy, Healthy, & Confident Always!