I am a certified medical doctor and medical writer from the UK. I love to share knowledge and promote awareness to all my readers.
It is not uncommon to hear that you require stretching, only if you are a fitness enthusiast or a gymnastic. However, regular stretching is vital for all of us to enhance flexibility and range of motion.
Stretching is one of the best ways to enhance muscle flexibility, strength, and overall mobility, which otherwise could get shortened, weak and stiff. Besides, it helps prevent muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints from overall injuries.
There are several techniques of stretching. However, the two most common ones are;
It involves acute movements that don’t require holding the stretch position. It helps reduce passive stiffness, enhance flexibility and reduces the chances of musculoskeletal injury.
It causes full-range muscle and joint movements that require holding the stretch position for a couple of seconds. It helps in quick relief and recovery of muscle injury due to workout, reducing aches and strains.
A study published in The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy found the dynamic and static stretches produce muscle flexibility and joint range of motion, whether performed acutely or over time accompanied by other modes of exercise training.
Therefore, this article will exclusively discuss how stretching could help you gain health and well-being benefits.
Enhances Range of Motion:
Joints play a vital role in executing a varied range of motion, giving us independence of mobility. However, joint stiffness can occur due to cold weather, weight gain, prolonged bed rest, joint inflammatory and degenerative diseases. Subsequently, you might feel your joints being locked and unable to move in your desired direction.
Stretching can loosen the stiff joints by,
- Enhancing the lubrication in the joints
- Improving the flexibility of the supporting muscles, tendons, and ligaments
- Reduces friction in the joint spaces
Enhances Body Flexibility:
It is not uncommon to see people finding it hard to bend down to grab something fallen on the floor. If they do so, they give painful expressions or groan when bending down to pick things up and then standing up again.
Stretching enhances the extensibility of your muscles, tendons and ligaments so that you can perform all types of physical activities from sports to daily errands comfortably.
Fast Healing of Sore Muscles and Joint Injury:
Stretches help ease joint and muscle aches. It helps clear up inflammatory cells and promote the influx of pain-relieving and healing factors to relieve muscle and joint aches.
Helps Maintain Correct Body Posture:
Studies have shown that the most common cause of body ache is living with a wrong body posture. A study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science showed that stretching along with other body strengthening activities helps;
- Reduced musculoskeletal pain
- Improved body posture
- Relaxed whole body
- Refined body balance
Boosts Blood Circulation:
Regular stretches improve blood flow in our body. A study published in the International Heart Journal revealed that stretches improved vascular endothelial function and peripheral blood flow in cardiac patients.
You might have suffered muscle tightness and aches when you are tensed and anxious. It occurs because tensed muscles are the natural body reflexes in the presence of stressors to prepare and protect the body from imminent pain and danger.
Stretching helps relieve muscle stiffness and ease body muscles to make you feel more relaxed and comfortable. However, make sure that you do not stretch to the extend of pain.
To practice, try stretching for those body regions which you feel get tensed or ache due to stress, such as shoulder, arms or neck, to bring the desired relaxing effect.
Boosts Physical Stamina:
Stretching helps boost stamina and performance for physical activities. A study published in Sports Medicine found that dynamic stretching works acutely on the neuromuscular system and enhances muscle performance by temperature and potentiation-related mechanisms. Besides, It reduces muscle stiffness, improves muscle power and range of motion.
Promotes Mind Peace:
All types of stretch manoeuvres involve focusing on mindfulness and deep breathing exercise, which divert the brain from negative thoughts and help uplift mood.
Similarly, stretching as a part of yoga is found to inhibit brain stimulation and help induce a natural sleep for people with insomnia. It also helps overcome anxiety and depression among people.
Stretching is one of the most effective ways to gain muscles flexibility and enhancing joints range of motion. Not only this, it helps soothe body aches, protect against injuries, relaxes the body, boosts blood flow, maintains posture and favours mental well-being.
However, perform dynamic stretches such as a warm-up before exercise to loosen stiff muscles and joints. Besides, do static stretches after exercise to relieve soreness due to muscle pulling or injury to avoid later complications, such as muscle tear.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2021 Dr Farah Naz
Dr Farah Naz (author) from United Kingdom on October 11, 2021:
Hi Dream Meg,
I am really sorry to hear about your arthritis pain. However, you should try stretches to enhance your body flexibility and joint range of motion-it will be helpful for you.
DreamerMeg from Northern Ireland on October 11, 2021:
This has come just at the right time for me. I have got an attack of arthritis (I think) in my ankle, so I must find some stretches that will help relieve the pain and promote flexibility. I had started yoga but that was only once a week. Not often enough I think, so I must look for something I can do every day.