A study found that even small bouts of stretching lasting for about 15, 30, or 60 seconds, can increase the delivery of nutrients to the muscles and cartilage. Doing so increases blood flow to the muscles, which experts say increases serotonin levels. Serotonin is a hormone that helps in reducing stress and in stabilizing moods, which leave an overall good feeling as it eases out feelings of anxiety and depression.
Stress, as we have all experienced, can cause muscles to tighten, creating feelings of discomfort. Stress that is some degree greater than others, can lead to chronic pain. As stretching can reduce muscle tensions, it can reverse the tightening process and eventually ease pain.
Wellness Expert Explains How Stretching Can Help with Mental Health
Dr. Nailah Abdulbaaqee, M.D, a family medicine specialist, explains how stretching can contribute to overall wellness, including mental health. Focused on helping patients maintain health goals and in managing chronic conditions like hypertension, high blood or type 2 diabetes. Dr. Abdulbaaqee said that stretching serves to increase blood circulation in the brain.
Increased blood circulation, on the other hand, eases stress by reducing tension, which helps in improving a person’s mood. Increased blood flow in the brain helps the mind and body interact when tackling folding and bending motions.
According to Dr. Abdulbaaqee, there is actually no standard for stretching, but including physical activity in one’s daily routine allows for more optimal performance everyday. If adopted as a regular habit, being able to perform daily tasks with a range of motion and flexibility with less pain and soreness can improve moods.
Tips for Beginner Stretching
The first tip to keep in mind when learning to practise stretching as beginners, is to not rush the activity. The mindset is to make it part of your daily habit but do so with ease so you can have body awareness. Moreover, focus on your breathing while going through the motions, to keep yourself grounded instead of allowing your mind to wander off.
Breathe deeply for longer inhalations and exhalations because exercise experts say this type of breathing triggers the body’s parasympathetic nervous system. The latter refers to the quiet and rest responses as opposed to the fight and flight responses caused by fear and anxiety that adversely affectt mental health. Deep breathing and long exhalation calm the mind. while a calm mind during stretching and exercising can make the whole body feel relaxed.
While you can simply search for some beginner stretching techniques, it’s still difficult to choose from the multiple search page results presented by Google. Now you may come across the term hyperbolic stretching, which by the title alone connotes intense movements. However, beginners should not dive in quickly into ballistic stretching motions as their joints and muscles are not yet flexible.