While it may seem unexciting, stretching has so many benefits for your body, and its better for your wellbeing. We will show you how, and why in this article!



Stretching and wellbeing: why you shouldn’t skip it!

While it may seem unexciting, stretching has so many benefits for your body, and its better for your wellbeing. We will show you how, and why in this article!

September 26th, 2023

Why you shouldn’t skip stretching for better wellbeing!

Stretching often seems like the simple part of the workout. It’s not the part where you’re doing cool moves or getting your heart rate up. It’s always at the end of the workout, and honestly, we all skip it from time to time. But, what if we tell you that stretching can really improve your wellbeing? We all feel better after stretching, but it doesn’t always feel all that important compared to the other parts of our workout. Well, it’s time to change that. We are going to get into the weeds of stretching so that we know exactly what goodness we are missing out on the next time we want to skip our full cooldown. It has so many benefits, even when done without a workout!

What’s going on in the muscles?

If you’ll allow me to pull your attention closer, we can start by understanding what’s going on within our muscles when we stretch. Let’s use the hamstrings as an example. We all know the classic “touch your toes” stretch from gym class. When you reach towards your toes, you are lengthening the hamstring muscles. You are lengthening the muscle fibers, starting from where they originate in the back and sides of the hip to where they insert by your knees. When you hold a muscle in an extended position for over 30 seconds, it naturally begins to release its tension. This is due to an automatic, involuntary response to avoid tearing. After this stretch, your muscles go back to their original length. But they don’t go back to their original level of tension. So, post-workout, your muscles can recover at this new and improved tension level.

The positive effects of stretching

Pretty cool, right? But how does this actually benefit us? It helps our bodies in many ways; let’s talk about the short and long term effects.

The short-term

In the short term, stretching can help ease some common pains in our bodies. When our muscles are tight, they are putting more and more pressure on our joints by pulling on them. An imbalance in this pressure can cause pain. Identifying and stretching the muscle that is tight can help with pain at that moment. When I run and have some knee pain, stopping and stretching my hamstrings, quads, and hips helps to ease the pain, and I can get on with my run! Addressing tight muscles before your workout can also help with the quality of your movements. This also reduces the risk of injury! Additionally, stretching helps increase blood flow to our muscles, so they can recover faster and better oxygenate themselves.

The long-term

Long term, the benefits we mentioned above compound upon one another. If you stick to a regular stretching routine, you will have better mobility in your body and joints. This means fewer injuries and less stiffness. Your muscles are going to be healthier, so whatever your fitness goals are, you are primed to crush them! With a regular routine, you are also more in tune with your body. You can better notice when there are changes and take preventative measures to get your body back in balance. Stretching can be an act of self-love for your body, which is why we made it an integral part of our Happy Nation Games! In research, it has been seen that programs lasting just a few weeks can significantly increase flexibility and range of motion. 1

Stretching and wellbeing: Some important reminders

Okay, so you are recommitted to bringing stretching back! Here are some remindersw about the important aspects of stretching. 2  

What’s the goal? Symmetry between sides. Try to make both sides equal over time to reduce the risk of injury. Even if you need to give one side a little extra TLC, that’s okay! 

What should it feel like? There should be tension in the muscle and maybe some tingling if you’re really getting into a muscle knot. But there should be no pain! If there’s pain, there will definitely be no gain. 

Where? Start with the major muscles in your body (like the hamstrings, quads, shoulders, chest, etc.). If you play a sport, consider the major muscle groups involved in that and start there. 

When? It’s best done post-workout, but if you are feeling tight in an area, it’s okay to stretch before. To keep up your flexibility, 3-5 times a week is best. 

How long? Holding your stretches for 30 seconds is best. If you have particularly tight areas, holding for up to 60 seconds is fine. Try to avoid bouncing; it can hurt your muscles and ligaments.

Don’t have enough time?

You may already be getting more stretching than you think. You can take these ideas about stretching and see where they fit into your life. Stretching is a part of many fitness classes like yoga, dance, and Pilates. Many yoga poses are great multi-muscle stretches. Active and passive stretches are both beneficial for your flexibility. If you are already struggling with not having enough time, try adding a few stretches before bed. What’s better than going to sleep after your muscle tension melts away?

Start stretching!

Stretching is an often overlooked part of our workouts. But it’s actually really beneficial for maintaining our muscles, preventing injury, and taking care of our bodies! Give yourself some time after workouts or even just during the day to get in touch with your body and stretch it out. Remember the guidelines above so you don’t hurt yourself or waste time. If you want to get involved with a group of people stretching, check out our Happy nation Games – a 30-day challenge with daily movement and a focus on social wellbeing and happiness.

Stretching for your well-being

Happy Nation Blog

While it may seem unexciting, stretching has so many benefits for your body, and its better for your wellbeing. We will show you how, and why in this article!

Stretching and wellbeing: why you shouldn’t skip it!

While it may seem unexciting, stretching has so many benefits for your body, and its better for your wellbeing. We will show you how, and why in this article!

September 26th, 2023

Why you shouldn’t skip stretching for better wellbeing!

Stretching often seems like the simple part of the workout. It’s not the part where you’re doing cool moves or getting your heart rate up. It’s always at the end of the workout, and honestly, we all skip it from time to time. But, what if we tell you that stretching can really improve your wellbeing? We all feel better after stretching, but it doesn’t always feel all that important compared to the other parts of our workout. Well, it’s time to change that. We are going to get into the weeds of stretching so that we know exactly what goodness we are missing out on the next time we want to skip our full cooldown. It has so many benefits, even when done without a workout!

What’s going on in the muscles?

If you’ll allow me to pull your attention closer, we can start by understanding what’s going on within our muscles when we stretch. Let’s use the hamstrings as an example. We all know the classic “touch your toes” stretch from gym class. When you reach towards your toes, you are lengthening the hamstring muscles. You are lengthening the muscle fibers, starting from where they originate in the back and sides of the hip to where they insert by your knees. When you hold a muscle in an extended position for over 30 seconds, it naturally begins to release its tension. This is due to an automatic, involuntary response to avoid tearing. After this stretch, your muscles go back to their original length. But they don’t go back to their original level of tension. So, post-workout, your muscles can recover at this new and improved tension level.

The positive effects of stretching

Pretty cool, right? But how does this actually benefit us? It helps our bodies in many ways; let’s talk about the short and long term effects.

The short-term

In the short term, stretching can help ease some common pains in our bodies. When our muscles are tight, they are putting more and more pressure on our joints by pulling on them. An imbalance in this pressure can cause pain. Identifying and stretching the muscle that is tight can help with pain at that moment. When I run and have some knee pain, stopping and stretching my hamstrings, quads, and hips helps to ease the pain, and I can get on with my run! Addressing tight muscles before your workout can also help with the quality of your movements. This also reduces the risk of injury! Additionally, stretching helps increase blood flow to our muscles, so they can recover faster and better oxygenate themselves.

The long-term

Long term, the benefits we mentioned above compound upon one another. If you stick to a regular stretching routine, you will have better mobility in your body and joints. This means fewer injuries and less stiffness. Your muscles are going to be healthier, so whatever your fitness goals are, you are primed to crush them! With a regular routine, you are also more in tune with your body. You can better notice when there are changes and take preventative measures to get your body back in balance. Stretching can be an act of self-love for your body, which is why we made it an integral part of our Happy Nation Games! In research, it has been seen that programs lasting just a few weeks can significantly increase flexibility and range of motion. 1

Stretching and wellbeing: Some important reminders

Okay, so you are recommitted to bringing stretching back! Here are some remindersw about the important aspects of stretching. 2  

What’s the goal? Symmetry between sides. Try to make both sides equal over time to reduce the risk of injury. Even if you need to give one side a little extra TLC, that’s okay! 

What should it feel like? There should be tension in the muscle and maybe some tingling if you’re really getting into a muscle knot. But there should be no pain! If there’s pain, there will definitely be no gain. 

Where? Start with the major muscles in your body (like the hamstrings, quads, shoulders, chest, etc.). If you play a sport, consider the major muscle groups involved in that and start there. 

When? It’s best done post-workout, but if you are feeling tight in an area, it’s okay to stretch before. To keep up your flexibility, 3-5 times a week is best. 

How long? Holding your stretches for 30 seconds is best. If you have particularly tight areas, holding for up to 60 seconds is fine. Try to avoid bouncing; it can hurt your muscles and ligaments.

Don’t have enough time?

You may already be getting more stretching than you think. You can take these ideas about stretching and see where they fit into your life. Stretching is a part of many fitness classes like yoga, dance, and Pilates. Many yoga poses are great multi-muscle stretches. Active and passive stretches are both beneficial for your flexibility. If you are already struggling with not having enough time, try adding a few stretches before bed. What’s better than going to sleep after your muscle tension melts away?

Start stretching!

Stretching is an often overlooked part of our workouts. But it’s actually really beneficial for maintaining our muscles, preventing injury, and taking care of our bodies! Give yourself some time after workouts or even just during the day to get in touch with your body and stretch it out. Remember the guidelines above so you don’t hurt yourself or waste time. If you want to get involved with a group of people stretching, check out our Happy nation Games – a 30-day challenge with daily movement and a focus on social wellbeing and happiness.

Stretching for your well-being