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The Advantages of Stretching and Why It Feels So Good

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Many of us, without even realising it, begin our days by stretching before we even get out of bed.


Pandiculation is the involuntary stretching of your muscles. It's a common behaviour in most animals to relieve muscle tension.


Stretching is one of the few activities that feels better after a period of inactivity. Stretching lowers your risk of injury, can induce a sense of calm, and is even thought to improve circulation.


In this article, we'll explain why stretching feels good, discuss the benefits, and show you some simple stretches you can do on a regular basis.





Why does stretching make you feel good?


Humans have a natural tendency to avoid things that cause pain and seek out activities that make them feel good. Stretching is no different. Stretching feels good to your body's natural reward system, which motivates you to keep your muscles at optimal tension.


Here's a closer look at why stretching feels so good.



Circulation improvement


When you stretch a muscle, your body reacts by increasing blood flow to the affected area. The blood vessels surrounding the targeted muscle dilate to allow more blood to flow through, and your heart begins to pump more blood.


This increase in blood flow allows the stretched muscle or muscles to receive more oxygen and rid themselves of metabolic waste products.



Parasympathetic nervous system activation


According to research, static stretching activates your parasympathetic nervous system while inhibiting the activation of your sympathetic nervous system.


Your parasympathetic nervous system is in charge of your sleep and digestion. It can also aid in the induction of feelings of calm and relaxation.



Endorphin secretion


Endorphins are neurotransmitters that are produced by your central nervous system and pituitary gland. When they bind with receptors in your brain, they have greater pain-relieving effects than morphine and cause euphoria.



Endorphins are a natural reward system in your body that are released after activities such as exercise, sex, eating, and drinking.

There hasn't been much research done on the effects of stretching on endorphin release. Stretching, on the other hand, may help reduce menstrual pain, according to a 2015 study. Its pain-relieving effects are thought to be due to blood vessel relaxation, the release of beta-endorphins, and the suppression of prostaglandins.



What are the advantages of stretching?


There are numerous advantages to stretching your muscles on a regular basis. Let's take a closer look at these advantages.



increased adaptability


Stretching on a regular basis may help improve your flexibility, especially if you lead a sedentary lifestyle. As you get older, your flexibility naturally declines, but stretching can help slow this down.



Circulation improvement


Stretching improves circulation in the short term by relaxing your blood vessels and increasing the amount of blood your heart pumps.


Although it is a relatively new area of study, stretching is thought to have long-term benefits on your circulatory health, such as improved blood vessel function and lower blood pressure.




Stress reduction


The parasympathetic nervous system is activated by static stretching. Activating this nervous system branch may help alleviate the psychological effects of stress. This, in turn, may aid in the induction of feelings of calmness and relaxation.



improved athletic performance


Being able to move freely through all of your joints may help you perform better in sports. A sprinter, for example, must be able to fully extend and rotate their hips in order to achieve maximum speed.


Stretching, both static and dynamic, may be able to help you improve your range of motion. Static stretching, on the other hand, should be reserved for after workouts because it can reduce force production.



better posture


Muscle tension and tightness can have a negative impact on your posture by pulling your spine into positions that put strain on your back, neck, and core muscles.


Regular stretching combined with core strengthening exercises has been shown in studies to help improve poor posture and alignment.


Daily stretches that are simple


One of the best things about stretching is that it doesn't require any special equipment. Stretching can be done at any time and in any place.


Here are five key stretches to help relieve tension and tightness in many of your body's major muscle groups.




Lunge to the ground





  

The low lunge stretches your hips, groyne, thighs, and core muscles.


To perform this stretch, first:


1. Step forward with your right foot into a lunge, keeping your back knee on the ground and your left leg extended. Maintain your right knee over your right foot, but not above it.


2. Place your hands next to your foot on the ground. You can also place them on your knees or raise them up to the sky.


3.Take a deep breath and concentrate on opening your chest and stretching your spine.


4. Hold the lunge for at least 5 breaths before repeating on the opposite side.



Stretching the torso while seated





The seated torso stretch focuses on the muscles of the core and back.


To perform this stretch, first:


1. Begin by sitting upright in a chair, feet on the ground.


2. With one hand, hold the back of the chair and twist in the direction of that hand.


3. Hold the twist for up to 30 seconds before repeating on the opposite side.




Pose of the Cobra




Cobra Pose can help open up and stretch your chest, abs, neck, and shoulders muscles.


To perform this stretch, first:


1. Lie on your stomach, hands under your shoulders, arms tight to your chest, and fingers pointing forward.


2. Raise your upper torso off the ground by pushing through your hands and straightening your arms. If you want to make the stretch deeper, tilt your head back.


3. Hold the position with your elbows slightly bent for 30 to 60 seconds.




Rolls of the neck




Neck rolls are an excellent way to relieve neck tension, particularly after long periods of sitting.


To perform this stretch, first:


1. Sit up straight, with your ears aligned over your shoulders.


2. Roll your head forward and then to the right, feeling a stretch in the left side of your neck. Hold this position for a total of 10 seconds.


3. Return to the starting position and do the opposite side.


4. Repeat in each direction three times.




Stretching Tips for Safety


Avoid cold stretching. To avoid injury, it's a good idea to get your blood flowing before stretching. Warming up your muscles with a low-intensity activity like walking or easy jogging for 5 minutes can help.


Gently stretch. Don't force yourself into any position that causes you pain. If a stretch causes pain, you're stretching too far.


Make stretching a habit. Stretching will provide the most benefits if it becomes a regular habit. Stretching should be done at least twice a week, according to fitness experts.


Extend both sides. To avoid flexibility imbalances, make sure to stretch both sides of your body equally.


Stay away from bouncing. Bouncing while stretching can cause muscle or tendon injury. It can also cause muscle tightness.




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