The Surprising Benefits of Stretching

by Belinda on May 14, 2012

Do you make a point of regularly stretching? If not, you should.  And that’s because it can really boost your body-sculpting results.

I know, it sounds so simple… so deceptively simple. And perhaps that’s why a lot of people don’t stretch as much or as often as they should (myself included).

However, there are plenty of benefits to stretching.  One of the most well-known benefits is that it decreases injury since it helps ensure your muscles are loosened up and ready to go before vigorous exercise. But that’s not the only benefit. Here are four others:

  • Increases flexibility. When you’re more flexible, then you have a wider range of motion. And when you have a wider range of motion, then you’re able to stimulate even more muscle fibers when you do your bodyweight and resistance exercises. In turn, you get better body-sculpting results.
  • Increases your circulation. Not only does this improve your general health and well-being, but it helps you recover after a hard workout.
  • Loosens stiff muscles. Stretching is a great way to start your morning, especially if you need to loosen up muscles that are stiff and sore due to yesterday’s workout.
  • Relaxes you. You can stretch at any time of the day to help release stress and improve your mood. You can even stretch right before bed since it tends to relax you.

If you’re ready to get started and feel the benefits for yourself then try my Basic Exercise Ball Stretching.

6 Basic Exercise Ball Stretches

Let me emphasize a couple important points:

  • Stretch for 30 seconds. It seems like a long time, but just hang in there for the full 30 seconds (per stretch) in order to get the full benefits.
  • Focus on your form. You’re only going to get the full benefit if you stretch using the correct form. (Watch the video for tips on the correct stretching posture.)
  • Stretch deeply. You want to feel it in your muscles and joints when you do your stretching. We’re not looking for searing pain here, however – so if you’re a beginner or you’re otherwise stiff, use the tips I provide in the video.

Finally, make it a habit. Add it to your workout plans to help remind you to do it. You can also write it down in your fitness diary, which again will help you remember to do your daily stretching.  Be sure to also write down in your diary how stretching makes you feel, such as how it helps you recover when you have sore muscles. You might be surprised at just how well it works!

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