There are so many benefits to stretching, and there are so many ways to stretch!  But no matter why you stretch or how you stretch, the question you really want the answer to is probably the same one everyone wants the answer to. “Can stretching actually help you stay young?”  The answer, in a word, is “yes.”  Stretching can definitely contribute to a longer, healthier life. The reality is that because stretching has so many benefits, it does contribute to your health and longevity.

126856225_4a843b665a_oWhat are the benefits of stretching?  Well, everyone knows that stretching can help relieve stress and increase circulation, as well as help you to avoid injury.  It is kind of obvious how those things can help you stay young.  But what are some of the less obvious things that stretching does for our bodies as we grow older?

Stretching keeps our joints flexible and preserves range of motion.  As you grow older, this becomes more and more important.  Without good range of motion in our joints, we experience more pain and limits our ability to keep active and exercise – and we know that it is vital to keep our bodies moving as much as we can throughout our entire lives.  Good range of motion keeps you moving more easily and helps you keep your balance, which reduces the likelihood of falls and injury, too.

Flexibility is another benefit of stretching.  Flexibility is different than range of motion and if you remain flexible as you age, it can help you to do the activities of daily living more easily and longer. Maintaining flexibility makes it easier to work out more frequently and for longer periods of time.

Another less thought of benefit of stretching is that it promotes better posture.  As we age, we can become arthritic and our bodies begin breaking down.  Stretching relaxes our muscles, and the more relaxed our muscles are, the easier it is to maintain better posture. The longer we maintain better posture, the longer we feel better and feel like exercising, and this results in us feeling younger longer and maintaining our health into our old age.

Stretching doesn’t have to be strenuous or involve complicated routine for us to reap the benefits.  Even simple stretching can help us stay younger longer. The point is to find a way to stretch that feels good to you, and then do it.  Every day.  And then reap the benefits, for a long, long time!