Starting your day with mindful movement in basic stretches can help your physical and mental well-being. As you gently move your body and breathe deeply, stretching can improve joint mobility, increase blood flow and reduce muscle tension. Many find that morning stretching also helps energize their mind and body for the day ahead.
While a short stretching routine of 5 to 10 minutes does not compare to a high-intensity workout, regular stretching represents an opportunity to develop healthy movement habits that can accumulate over time to promote optimal health.
Taking just a few minutes to stretch first could mark the start of a more mindful and active lifestyle. This begs the question – does stretching in the morning help you lose weight?
Can you lose weight by stretching in the morning?
Stretching in the morning can contribute to weight loss. However, it’ll not lead to significant weight loss by itself.
The calories burned during a typical morning stretch session are minimal, ranging from around 20 to 70 calories depending on the duration. However, stretching can offer other benefits that indirectly support weight management.
When you stretch first thing in the morning, you become more awake, alert, and energized. This makes it more likely that you will follow through with other planned exercises or daily activities that burn more calories. Read Here: Is Eating Less Food A Good Way To Lose Weight?
Stretching also relieves muscle tension and improves flexibility. This improves your performance during higher-intensity workouts like running or strength training. More efficient movement during exercise translates to burning more calories over time.
Stretching in the mornings can also improve your body awareness, posture, and overall well-being. This positive mindset and lowered stress levels make you more inclined to make healthy diet choices and stick with an exercise routine. Over time, minor improvements in diet and increasing physical activity levels through exercise can produce significant weight loss.
While stretching is not a high-calorie-burning activity, it is a helpful warmup before you engage in high-calorie-burning exercises. Even basic morning movements like walking, gardening, or housework burn more calories than stretching.
Adding a period of stretching to wake up your muscles before performing these tasks can improve their effectiveness at burning calories through NEAT, or non-exercise activity thermogenesis.
What Happens in Your Body When You Stretch After Waking Up?
As simple as stretching may seem, it provides meaningful bodily and mental benefits. Waking up and immediately moving your body through basic stretches can activate positive effects.
You can expect increased circulation, cellular renewal, better motion, and mobility range to support more effective workouts later in the day. Read: How Much Water Should You Drink To Lose Weight?
- Increased Circulation and Cellular Renewal
As you stretch and loosen tight muscles, blood flow to those tissues increases. This delivers more oxygen and nutrients while removing metabolic waste products.
Morning stretching stimulates circulation and lymphatic drainage, strengthening the body’s natural cleansing and rejuvenation processes. The influx of oxygen-rich blood also nourishes and repairs cells, readying your body for a new day.
- Improved Range of Motion and Joint Mobility
Stretching helps loosen stiff joints and relieve muscle tension that develops while at rest. Over time, a consistent morning routine of flexibility exercises can improve your overall range of motion and the lubrication and nutrition of your joints.
Proper joint mobility is crucial for day-to-day movements without pain or restriction and directly impacts exercise performance and the risk of injury.
- Positive Impact on Mood and Energy Levels
As you stretch and breathe deeply, your nervous system shifts towards a more restful state. This “relaxation response” is accompanied by the release of feel-good neurotransmitters that can elevate your mood, improve concentration and boost energy for the tasks ahead. The mental clarity and positivity from morning stretching can remain with you throughout the day.
- Influence on Metabolic Rate and Energy Expenditure
While stretching alone burns a few calories, it can boost the metabolic rate for a few hours after a session. Over time, this increased energy expenditure – even just an additional 50 calories per day – could amount to significant weight loss.
- Foundation for a Comprehensive Weight Management Plan
Though minimal, a morning stretching routine can provide structure, discipline, and mindfulness that transfers to other healthy habits integral to weight loss.
These include sticking to a calorie-controlled diet, increasing high-intensity exercise, and reducing stress. No matter how gentle, morning movement sets the stage for a successful weight management plan.
- Support for More Effective Workouts Later in the Day
Stretching helps improve joint mobility, muscle recruitment, and coordination – attributes that directly influence exercise performance and caloric output. From running more efficiently to lifting heavier weights, a flexibility gain from morning stretching can maximize the benefits of subsequent workouts, particularly those aimed at fat loss.
How Can I Make Sure I’m Stretching Properly to Maximize Its Benefits?
Proper stretching techniques will help you unlock the full benefits of flexibility exercises. Here are a few tricks you can apply to your stretching if you want to maximize the benefits:
- Start with a Short Warm Up
Lightly raising your heartbeat and body temperature through a 3-5 minute walk, march, or easy jog prepares your muscles for stretching.
Warm muscles are less prone to injury and can stretch further. Opt for a full-body activity that gets the blood flowing to all major muscle groups. Read: Do You Lose More On The Cold Or The Heat?
- Focus on Technique Over Duration
Prioritize performing each stretch with proper form to avoid injury. Holding static stretches for 30 seconds provides a minimal additional benefit, so focus more on repetition than duration. Start slow and gradually work up to holding stretches for 20-30 seconds.
- Stretch to the Point of Discomfort, Not Pain
Listen to your body and avoid pushing stretches too far. You should feel a mild tugging sensation but no sharp pain. Stop short of pain and slowly work up to a deeper stretch over time. Ease into each stretch and stop if you feel any sharp pains. Read: Can Sleeping A Waist Trainer Help Lose Weight?
- Control Your Breathing
Take slow, deep breaths throughout your stretching routine to promote muscle relaxation. Inhaling opens space for your muscles to lengthen, while exhaling encourages stretch. Match your breathing to your movements to maximize the benefits of each stretch.
How Long Should You Stretch?
Aim for 5-10 minutes of stretching 2-3 times weekly for maintenance and 10-20 minutes daily for more significant flexibility gains. However, even brief stretches of just a few minutes provide meaningful benefits. Consistency is more important than duration. Develop a sustainable routine that fits your lifestyle.
Incorporate Dynamic Stretches for a Complete Routine
Mix in dynamic stretches that involve controlled movement to activate your muscles in a way static stretches cannot. This provides a full-body warmup and flexibility session. Dynamic stretches also stimulate your cardiovascular system for additional health benefits.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is it reasonable to stretch when you wake up?
Yes! Stretching when you first wake up can help loosen tight muscles, improve joint mobility and range of motion, boost mood, and prime your body for the day ahead. Even a short 5-10 minute morning stretching routine provides meaningful benefits.
How long should you hold a stretch?
You should hold each static stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. Holding stretches for longer than 30 seconds likely provides a minimal additional benefit, so focusing on proper form is most important. As a beginner, start with 10-15 seconds per stretch. Gradually work up to the full 20-30 seconds.
What is the best time of day to stretch?
The best times to stretch are in the morning after you wake up or before and after a workout. Stretching in the morning or before a workout will energize your body and mind for the day ahead. After-workout stretching will relieve muscle tension and promote better sleep. Both have unique benefits depending on your goals.
Stretching in the morning contributes to weight loss by increasing energy, alertness, and performance. Though it burns a few calories directly, morning stretching improves flexibility, range of motion, and mood, supporting adherence to a healthy diet and exercise routine. To maximize benefits, focus on proper form, stretch till discomfort, and incorporate dynamic stretches and static stretches for a 5 to 10-minute routine a few times weekly. During light, morning stretching sets the foundation for a healthy lifestyle.Medical Discalimer: The information provided here On Geeks Health website is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you have or suspect a medical problem, promptly contact your healthcare provider. Reliance on any information in this response is solely at your own risk.