Many of us are familiar with the physical benefits of stretching such as releasing muscle tension and improving back pain. But something that’s easily overlooked are the mental benefits. Think about it, have you ever noticed after a deep stretch that your mood improves, even slightly? It’s not in your head! Stretching has a direct connection to decreasing stress and improving overall mood.
Wondering how? Here are 2 ways stretching, and getting stretched, has a positive impact on your mental health!
When we stretch, our body releases endorphins and serotonin. These are the coveted “feel-good” chemicals commonly associated with exercise. Have you ever heard of the term “runners high”? That’s actually the release of these chemicals! These chemicals help to relieve stress, decrease feelings of anxiety & depression, and give an overall mood-boost. And the best part is, you don’t need to run a mile in order to get this mood boost.
Stretching also allows your body to release these chemicals! And the deeper you’re able to get into a stretch, the better you feel. When you have an assisted stretch, you have someone that is able to help you get a deeper stretch and hold the pose for longer than you would on your own. Now imagine doing that for 25 or 50 minutes. That’s a big boost of serotonin that your mental health will greatly appreciate!
When you are under any type of stress like stuck in traffic, can’t find your keys, or having a busy day, your body’s sympathetic nervous system is turned on. This is your body's “fight or flight” mode. It prepares your body for danger by releasing stress hormones, increasing heart rate, and keeping you on high alert. While good to have in an emergency, it can have a negative impact if experienced on a day-to-day basis. Constantly being stressed makes you vulnerable to side-effects such as insomnia, anxiety, and depression.
Stretching turns off this state of high stress by downregulating your nervous system into its parasympathetic mode. The parasympathetic nervous system is known as our “rest and digest” state which helps calm the mind. The benefit of getting stretched versus just stretching on your own is that someone else is doing the work for you. Which means, you don’t have to focus on the act of stretching or making sure you’re stretching correctly. You can just relax, allowing your body and mind to fully go into its rest and digest state. This can help boost your cognition, mood, and emotional well-being!
Simply Feel Better
Stretching can play a bigger role than we think when it comes to our mental health. Regularly allowing your body to release endorphins and serotonin and go into its rest-and-digest state can provide great benefits for your mental health. In fact, it’s not uncommon for our StretchLab members to leave their sessions feeling like they can tackle the day. Take a few minutes every day to stretch and give yourself a little mental boost. And if you really want to prioritize your mental health, consider trying out an assisted stretch and see how regularly getting stretched can positively impact your body and mind!