6 Surprising Benefits of Stretching

Woman stretching in roomWe usually think of fitness requiring sweaty gym workouts, long runs in the neighborhood, or a fast-paced exercise class. Did you know you can boost your health by simply stretching? People who regularly work a stretching routine into their day have seen both physical and mental health benefits.

Try taking 15 to 20 minutes twice a day to stretch and start realizing these six health benefits.

1. Generate New Energy 

You can replace that 3 p.m. coffee fix with an afternoon stretching session. Your mind and your body will feel more alert, meaning you’ll have more energy to tackle those late afternoon and early evening tasks.

2. Lower Blood Sugar 

While those with diabetes or prediabetes should engage in regular workouts to help manage the disease, 20 minutes of stretching can also help. A 2011 study of adults who had either type 2 diabetes or prediabetes found that those who stretched for 20 minutes after drinking a sugary beverage had lower blood sugar levels than those who did not stretch their muscles.

3. Ease Anxiety 

When muscles are contracted, we can feel tense and uneasy. Stretching loosens tight muscles and releases endorphins, both of which promote relaxation and a feeling of tranquility. Stretching just before bed may also enhance your sleep quality.

4. Pump Up the Blood Flow 

Stretching helps promote better blood circulation, meaning muscles and organs will function better. The increased blood flow can also reduce the workload on the heart, lowering your heart rate and evening out your blood pressure.

5. Soothe Sore Muscles

Stretching can be one of the best fixes for sore muscles or aching joints. By increasing blood flow to the muscles and joints, more nutrients are able to reach these areas to promote healing. For the best results, avoid stretch-and-hold poses and try more range-of-motion exercises, such as shoulder shrugs, knee lifts, or leg swings.  

6. Avoid Injuries and Falls 

Research shows stretching improves balance and may also help with fine muscle coordination, both elements that can help reduce the likelihood of a trip or fall. The increased flexibility that comes from stretching can also reduce the chance of injury during a workout.

Need More Guidance on Getting Healthy?

Partnering with your primary care doctor for setting goals is one of the best way to improve your health. If you’re looking for primary care physician that can help you achieve better health, schedule an appointment today with a LeBauer physician.

With convenient locations in Burlington, Greensboro, High Point, Oak Ridge, and Whitsett, it’s easy to find a qualified doctor for your health journey.

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