Health Benefits of Stretching

Health Benefits of Stretching

Going by research, we can reduce 90% of headaches through stretching. But how is that possible? And what improves when you stretch daily? Stretching is beneficial to our physical and emotional states if followed routinely and safely. Let’s find out below how stretching can heal tension headaches and much of its ignored importance.

1. The Role of Stretching in Flexibility

Increased flexibility is at the core of most of the benefits that accrue from stretching. It determines the level of mobility that our joints can attain without injury within the body tissues. Lack of flexibility shortens and tightens our muscles and makes them weak to handle physical activities. Stretching is vital in achieving a greater state of flexibility. For example, dynamic stretching enhances mobility about the ankles, knees, shoulder, muscle, and connective tissues.

A stretching program of up to 5-90 minutes can cause improved flexibility. However, increased mobility that lasts longer requires an extensive stretching program of at least four weeks. Flexibility results in many health benefits of stretching every day;

a) Improved Posture

A correct posture defines the natural curve of the human spine. It maintains a balance of the muscles and skeleton to minimize the strains on our body.

Stretching a specific muscle group promotes proper alignment and reduces musculoskeletal pain. Based on a study of 88 students, stretching exercises in a standing position corrected posture and improved the ability to walk and sit on hard chairs.

b) Healing and Alleviation of Back Pains

Most of our back pains result from the stress on the lumbar spine due to tight muscles.

A regular stretching program enhances flexibility around the hip flexors, hamstrings, and muscles connected to the pelvis. Flexibility strengthens our back muscles and reduces muscle strains and stress on the lumbar spine to alleviate back pains.

c) Injury Prevention

Sports such as soccer involve bouncing and jumping with a high intensity of the Stretch-Shortening Cycle (SSCs). Players need a compliant muscle-tendon unit to store and release enough elastic energy for the required performance.

An increased risk of injury is possible if a player has a non-compliant muscle-tendon unit because the demand for the energy would surpass what the muscles can hold. Stretching routines can make a muscle-tendon compliant when the sport requires SSCs of higher intensities.

d) Increased Blood Flow to our Muscles

Acute tendon stretching produces a mechanical lengthening within the muscle and triggers vascular adaptations that promote increased blood flow to our muscles. Acute muscle stretching requires that we stretch daily over four weeks.

2. Stretching Alleviates Tension Headaches

We can reduce primary headaches using 20 minutes of neck stretching exercises. 90% of our headaches are primary and include migraine and tension headaches.

Neck static stretches are gentle, low intensity, and safe, and we can perform them without any equipment within minutes. These stretches inhibit muscle spasms, decrease muscle tension and enhance muscle strength to relieve pain.

3. Stretching Relieves Stress

Our muscles are medically known for contracting in response to emotional and physical stress. Stretching relaxes our tight muscles, and since the process allows us to move slowly and intentionally, we can breathe longer, appreciate our surroundings and focus on decompressing ourselves.

We should focus on stretching the areas of our body that tend to hold stress, such as our upper back, neck, and shoulders.