Healthy Family | Home Safety | Health and Wealth | Relationship Issues | Career Advice | Growing Family
Get the SixWise e-Newsletter FREE!
Google Web
Free Newsletter Subscription
Get the Web's Most trusted & Informative Health, Wealth, Safety & More Newsletter -- FREE!


Share Email to a Friend Print This

The Science Behind Stretching:
Why Research Says Routine Stretches are Good for You


You've made the time to start eating better, are exercising more often, and try to get a good night's sleep -- all things that clearly deserve attention for a healthy lifestyle. Stretching, meanwhile, may not be as high up on your totem pole of health "musts," but perhaps it should be.


Stretching is an important health tool for athletes and for everyone as they age.

Stretching is so simple that it's hard to imagine it does much for your health ... but studies show it is one of the best ways to relieve pain, improve your well-being and boost your health overall.

In fact, regular stretching, according to the Mayo Clinic, can:

  • Increase your flexibility, which improves your daily performance.

  • Improve your range of motion in your joints, giving you better balance and less prone to falls as you age.

  • Improve your circulation by increasing blood flow to your muscles. This helps your muscles to recover after injuries.

  • Promote better posture by keeping your muscles loose and minimizing aches and pains.

  • Prevent injuries, particularly if you have tight muscles or joints.

Why else might you want to take up stretching?

Stretching Improves Your Strength and Endurance

A recent study found that stretching impacts muscles in a similar way to strength training, but on a smaller scale.

"We suspect it's activating some of the same things in the cell that exercise activates," says study author Arnold Nelson, an associate professor of kinesiology at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge to MSNBC.

After 38 mostly sedentary people exercised for 40 minutes, three times a week, for 10 weeks, they:

  • Improved flexibility by an average of 18 percent

  • Increased their strength -- their "one-repetition maximum" increased an average of 32 percent for knee extension exercises and 15 percent for knee flexion exercises

  • Increased their endurance -- the number of repetitions they could perform at 60 percent of their max improved 29 percent for the knee extension and 30 percent for knee flexion

  • Increased their vertical jump distance 7 percent and their standing long-jump distance 2 percent

"The extent that some people improved was surprising," Nelson said. "Some people had fantastic improvements."

Stretching Can Keep You Mobile as You Age

The less you move your joints as you get older, the greater your risk of losing your range of motion.

"When a joint remains immobile for an extended time, the muscles that surround the joint become tight and do not slide as easily upon one another to produce movement. Eventually, changes occur at the cellular level. The musculoskeletal components of the joint can actually lose their ability to stretch and become permanently shortened," said Lisa Jenkins, a physical therapist, in the New York Times.

Learn the 15 Most Effective Stretches, and All the Tips to Stretch Properly, in this Highly Acclaimed DVD by Jacques Gauthier!


stretching dvd"Without a doubt, the simple stretching exercises on this DVD will add life to your years ... and years to your life!"
-- Dr. Jean Chevrefils

  • The Most Effective 15 Stretching Exercises
  • Works Almost 100% of ALL Muscles in Your Body
  • Full Program Takes Just 15-20 Minutes Per Day
  • Eliminate Pain
  • Feel Much Younger & Energetic
  • Increase Your Mental Clarity and Focus
  • Improve Your Blood & Oxygen Circulation
  • Improve Your Body's Absorption of Nutrients
  • Slow Degeneration of Your Joints
  • Dramatically Improve the Way Your Body Looks!

Read More About the Stretching DVD & Order Now

The solution to this problem is straightforward: stay active as you age. This includes not only day-to-day activities but also by exercising and stretching.

How to Most Effectively Add Stretching to Your Life

How you stretch is even more important than the actual stretches you do, and according to Jacques Gauthier, top stretching expert of the Stretching Toward a Healthier Life DVD, stretching should be easy, enjoyable, safe and effective. Here are his keys to effective stretching:

  • Safety first! If you have had injuries, surgeries or have health concerns, consult with your health care provider about how to modify the stretches.

  • Move slowly in and out of the stretches -- this helps prevent injury and allows your body to relax.

  • Pay attention to your body -- it will tell you how far to go. You should stretch to a point of gentle tension, but not pain.

  • Relax into the stretches. Muscles elongate naturally as they relax. If you notice some tension or "holding" in the muscles during a stretch, let it go. You may find that as you relax into the stretch, you find yourself stretching even further.

  • Breathe slowly and deeply and pay attention to your breathing. This helps keep you to relax, stay aware of your body and helps keep you from being caught up in thoughts.


Previously sedentary people who stretched for 10 weeks significantly improved both their strength and endurance.

  • Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds. It has been found that holding a stretch for 25-35 seconds gives optimal results. Rather than count the seconds, you can time your breathing to find out how many slow, deep breaths you take in 30 seconds. Then you can time your stretches by counting your breath.

  • What is important is for the muscle to experience movement and be stretched -- not how far you go! If you are following stretches outlined in a book, for example, simply move in the direction of the stretch -- you don't have to move into any certain position to get the benefit of the stretch.

  • Don't bounce! You can injure yourself this way.

  • Stretching should be pleasurable! If you are not enjoying the stretching, you may be trying too hard or straining to achieve a certain result. Stretching is not a competition, it's simply an activity that benefits your body no matter what position you get into or how far you go.

According to Gauthier, it takes just 15 to 20 minutes of stretching a day to experience the beneficial effects. And while there are countless stretches out there, it takes just 15 of them to stretch 95 percent of your body. Gauthier's Stretching Toward a Healthier Life DVD shows you all 15 of these most effective stretching exercises, and the full program takes just 15 to 20 minutes a day.

And remember, stretching can be done any time of day, not just while you exercise. Carving out a few minutes first thing in the morning, or after work, for stretching will go a long way toward improving your health.

Recommended Reading

Stretching and Exercise: Is Stretching Before Exercise Dangerous? When Should You Stretch?

Nine Important Stretches if You Work at a Desk Much of the Day


The New York Times April 19, 2005

MSNBC October 30, 2007

To get more information about this and other highly important topics, sign up for your free subscription to our weekly "Be Safe, Live Long & Prosper" e-newsletter.

With every issue of the free newsletter, you’ll get access to the insights, products, services, and more that can truly improve your well-being, peace of mind, and therefore your life!

Share Email to a Friend Print This