The Amazing Effects Of Stretching On Your Entire Body

The Amazing Effects Of Stretching On Your Entire Body

From perfecting posture to pill-free pain relief, stretching is important as it has a whole host of benefits for body and mind.

Regular stretching improves flexibility, sorts posture, prevents and soothes pain, strengthens joints, enhances sleep and boosts your mood. That’s an impressive list of the benefits of stretching that could make a major difference to your body and mind as you approach, go through and come out the other side of menopause, so roll out your exercise mat and take note.

Stretching boosts your mood

No one said the menopause was easy, and while physical problems like hot flushes can be treated with HRT and bladder weakness covered by the Odor Lock technology of Always Discreet pads that quickly neutralizes any embarrassing leaks, one thing that can take a dip is your mood. This is where a regular stretching routine comes in as it can make a real difference to your emotional wellbeing. It’s been found to boost self-esteem because it helps your brain to release feel-good dopamine, the hormone that controls your brain’s pleasure centers – surges here make you feel happier, more positive, motivated and alert. Yoga type stretching can also increase levels of allopregnanolone – a natural antidepressant – in your body.

Stretching soothes pain

Stretching-based exercise has been proven to help reduce symptoms of low back pain making it easier to live a full life. In fact, research has shown that simple stretching is just as beneficial as expensive yoga classes. It’s safe, accessible and doesn't carry the side effects of aspirin and ibuprofen, like nausea and dizziness. Stretching is also great for neck pain, reducing the intensity, releasing muscle tension and relieving the associated stress. It also helps your body release beta-endorphins, which have been described as human morphine.

Stretching improves sleep

Research among postmenopausal women found that those who stretched regularly used less sleep medication and had less trouble dropping off. Stretching away the built-up tension from the day directly before hopping into bed is also likely to mean you have a more comfortable rest. A little stretch in the morning will get the blood circulating again, where it may have pooled as you dozed, and that will nourish muscles and help you feel awake and ready to take on the day.

Stretching makes you fitter

Stretching before you exercise, be it a swim or a country stroll, makes your muscles more limber, so you’ll get more benefits from whatever you do, and you’ll be less likely to do yourself an injury. It also loosens muscles and tendons, so you won’t feel so fatigued by your activities and can keep going for longer, burning more calories in the process.

Stretching perfects posture

When we carry tension, parts of our body can be pulled away from their optimum position. Stretching muscles in your lower back, neck, chest and shoulders can help keep your spine in good alignment and avoid aches and pains. And when there is less pain, you’re less likely to hunch or slouch to compensate for soreness.

Stretching benefits circulation

Stretching increases blood flow, and getting more blood pumping around your body is good news for your organs. It benefits your heart, blood pressure, muscles and arteries and, as an added bonus, good circulation makes for healthy skin because it helps nourish skin cells. It can be beneficial if you often have cold hands and feet, too.

Do it right!

Go gently and don’t hold a stretch for more than 30 seconds, aim for 10 seconds as a starting point. Breathe through – it’s tempting to hold your breath, but controlling your breathing helps to increase the intensity and therefore the benefits. Take slow deep breaths in through your nose, letting your abdomen expand, and breathe out slowly through your mouth. You can also try flexibility classes, like yoga, hot yoga, tai chi or Pilates.

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