While most people assume that stretching is only an activity that can benefit a person’s flexibility, stretching can also be a useful way to reach your weight loss goals.
How? For starters, it’s important to emphasize that weight loss isn’t just about counting calories and hitting the gym every day. Furthermore, it’s certainly not about popping diet pills or living off of shakes and smoothies.
Rather, healthy, consistent, long-lasting weight loss is a culmination of multiple habits and behaviors, which work together to improve your health overall. By engaging in these habits and behaviors, your body will naturally move toward its intended healthy weight.
Stretching is one of these core habits. With regular stretching, you’ll benefit your body in a myriad of ways, ultimately, helping yourself reach and maintain your desired weight.
How Stretching Helps With Weight Loss
Below is a list of the specific ways that stretching can help you reach your weight loss goals.
Benefit #1 – Stretching burns calories at the very beginning of your weight loss journey.
If your goal is to lose 50, 100, or more pounds, exercise will inevitably be a part of your weight loss journey. That’s because exercise burns calories, which creates a calorie deficit within your day and ultimately results in fat loss.
Still, you probably won’t start out jogging, running, or doing a spin class — and that’s okay. Instead, it’s important to start slowly. Stretching is the perfect type of exercise to begin with. If you have ambitious weight loss goals, simply doing 10 to 20 minutes of stretching per day can help you burn a significant number of calories. Ideally, in the beginning, it will be enough to get you started on creating a daily calorie deficit to move you increasingly closer to your ultimate goal weight.
Benefit #2 – Stretching helps improve your range of motion and reduce the likelihood of an exercise-related injury.
As stated, exercise is an essential part of losing weight in a healthy way. Not only does it help burn calories, but it can also help build lean muscle mass, in addition to other benefits.
But if you can’t exercise because of an exercise-related injury, you won’t be getting any of these benefits. This is where stretching comes in. By stretching every time you exercise (ideally, before and after each exercise session), you’ll not only reduce the likelihood of being injured, but you’ll increase your range of motion.
Why is increasing your range of motion important?
As your exercise routines increase in intensity, length, and difficulty, you’ll be demanding more and more from your body. By improving your flexibility, range of motion, and strength (another benefit of stretching), you’ll be setting yourself up for success — even when it comes to the most challenging of exercise routines.
Benefit #3 – Stretching by way of practices like yoga can help center your mind.
Yoga is probably the most famous form of stretching. Anyone can practice yoga, anytime, anywhere. There is also a range of different types of yoga. What they all have in common is a focus on linking the body with the mind.
This mind-body connection is essential for peaceful living and the reduction of stress and anxiety. These benefits are crucial on any weight loss journey. That’s because losing weight is, frankly, difficult.
Let’s face it — it’s challenging to say “no” to that delicious-looking piece of chocolate cake. It takes persistence to stick with a diet, even if you don’t see results right away. And it’s not always pleasant to wake up extra early before work to do your daily stretches.
Having a strong control over your mind, your focus, and any frustration that comes your way is key. Fortunately, partaking in a stretching practice on a regular basis can provide these mental benefits.
Benefit #4 – Stretching can improve your posture.
Lastly, while stretching certainly doesn’t burn as many calories as, say, running or biking, it can still provide physical benefits. We mentioned earlier that it can improve strength, and this is true for starters, but that also depends on the type of stretching you are partaking in. If it’s only light stretching, for example, the strength- and muscle-building-related benefits will be limited.
On the other hand, what any stretching routine will definitely provide is an improvement of the practitioner’s posture. Why is this important? Most notably, improved posture helps everyone look and feel slimmer and leaner. In turn, this will beget more confidence and self-esteem — both of which are essential when it comes to sticking with any weight loss program.
What Are Your Weight Loss Goals?
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