Stretching isn’t just for athletes! It’s crucial for anyone looking to stay flexible and mobile, and it can even help you maintain your independence later in life. Besides the calming benefits of stretching, just a few minutes of stretching a day can also offer so many health benefits too.

A recent article from Harvard Health Publishing shares that daily stretching (yes, daily!) keeps your muscles “flexible, strong, and healthy.” Without regular stretching, your muscles could shorten and grow tighter, putting you at risk for joint pain and muscle damage.

Though stretching won’t magically make you flexible overnight if you’re starting a stretching routine for the first time, committing to a regular practice can help you maintain and even improve your range of motion.

What are the health benefits of stretching?

There are so many perks to stretching are just a few!

Relief for chronic pain

According to a 2018 study in the Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, stretching and deep-breathing exercises helped reduce pain and tension in those with neck discomfort. When performed regularly, stretching can relieve stiff muscles and soothe creaky joints from head to toe, from tight back muscles to rigid hips. Even a short session can release tension and promote relaxation.

Improve your sleep

The relaxing effects of a good stretch can linger even after you’ve turned off your bedroom lights. A 2018 study in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry found that chronic insomniacs who performed resistance exercises and stretches slept better than those who did not. Try adding a couple of your favorite stretches to your bedtime routine while playing some soft music. Within a few minutes, you’ll start to wind down and prepare your body for sleep.

Increase your energy

Yep, stretching has the power to lull you to sleep or kick-start your morning, depending on the stretches you do. Slow breathing and longer holds can be relaxing, while dynamic stretches or stretching multiple muscles in a row might be more energizing. Stretching has also been found to increase blood flow throughout your body, according to a 2018 study in the Journal of Physiology. And proper blood flow is crucial to a number of bodily functions. Increased blood flow to your muscles can help decrease muscle soreness after a workout, so you’re not on the couch for three days after a visit to the gym. Better circulation also gives your brain a boost by sending more oxygen its way. Next time you’re in need of a jolt, try going for some calf stretches instead of caffeine.

As always, consult your doctor before beginning any new routines, or if you are experiencing any pain or conditions that may not be compatible with a stretching routine.

How to access our Full-Body Stretching tool

The Full-Body Stretch tool is available to members of Prevention Premium, which is Prevention’s exclusive membership club. To join the Prevention Premium, sign up here. After signing up, click here to access the Full Body Stretch routine page and tool.

If you are already a Prevention Premium member, this benefit is yours already! Simply make sure you’re logged into your MYLO account (found at the top right-hand corner of our site) and the click here to access the tool.

Here’s a sneak peek a sample stretch you might see in your experience:

stretching generator teaser image

What you’ll need before stretching:

Most of the stretches in our guide are bodyweight stretches, meaning you don’t need additional equipment to perform them. However, depending on the area of the body you choose, and your comfort level, we’d recommend having the following items at the ready:

  • a yoga mat
  • a water bottle (a motivational water bottle can help you stay even more hydrated!)
  • a yoga strap or full-size bath towel that can be rolled
  • a sturdy surface to lean against, like a wall
  • a piece of furniture to use for sitting and standing from, like a chair or bench

What can our Full-Body Stretching tool do for you?

Simply select the area of your body you’d like to focus on, and the amount of time you have to dedicate to stretching today, and our dynamic guide will do the rest. When you select what part of your body you’d like to stretch, the tool will generate a series of helpful stretches to help you feel relaxed and reduce tension—all from the comfort of your home, no gym required!

Go to the tool and sign up today!

Headshot of Alexandra (Allie) Early

Digital Director

Prevention’s digital director has more than a decade of experience editing and strategizing for news and lifestyle publications such as Good Housekeeping, Time Out New York, Time Out New York Kids, Haute Living, and Forbes (previously writing for PureWow, Paste, xoJane, Men’s Fitness, House Beautiful, and Life by Daily Burn among others). She’s happiest when she's elevating a great story with perfect packaging, digging into longform storytelling, or remixing the way we experience reported journalism.

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