Stretching is not just about getting your muscles and body ready for exercise. Stretching for weight loss is a real concept that can boost your fat burning abilities and prevent injuries.
The risk of injury is potentially higher as you age. But, it doesn't matter whether you’re 20, 40, or even 80, stretching is a great way to decrease that risk.
Let’s discover the benefits of stretching and the simplest, most effective methods of stretching every day. It doesn't have to be a difficult routine.
If you're ready to kick it up a notch, consider joining FF30X, our most popular fitness program. The program is designed specifically for busy men and uses cutting edge research to help you get fit.
The Benefits of Stretching
It’s important to be aware that stretching isn't just something you do before and after exercise. You can and should stretch every morning and evening. This is a great way to get the following array of benefits:
Stretching is a form of exercise. You will burn calories while doing it. Of course, you’re not going to burn the same level of calories as a 30 minute HIIT workout. But, you are going to burn more calories than you might think.
This is because activating your muscles by stretching them will require additional energy, which is created by burning calories. The actual stretch will burn calories, but the use of your muscles is likely to cause small tears. As these heal your muscles will become stronger; which means your body will burn more calories at rest than it currently does.
In turn, you’ll be burning additional calories all day long!
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Stretching increases the blood flow to all the tissues and organs in your body. This is because you are moving your body, elevating your heart rate and forcing it to work harder, sending more oxygen and nutrient round your body.
As part of this process, you’ll feel good about stretching and your body will feel better able to cope with what the day is about to throw at it. In short, you’ll feel in a brighter, more positive mood.
It will show in the actions you take throughout the day.
You can also try stretching at midday; the movement of your body will reduce feelings of fatigue; helping you to feel more positive and energetic throughout the afternoon.
This is another positive result of increased blood flow, caused by the stretching movements.
Inflammation in joints and muscles is eased when your natural endorphins, (pain killers), are released.
The additional blood flow will ensure that nutrients and oxygen are reaching all the parts of your body, increasing the ability of your body to beat diseases, viruses, and other causes of inflammation.
Your joints and any other sources of inflammation will feel much better; especially immediately after a stretching session.
Every time you stretch you’ll be warming up your muscles for exercise. However, you’ll also be pushing your muscles and tendons, gently forcing them to do a little more every time you stretch.
The result is better flexibility. If you’re not sure how effective this really is, then try this:
Put your left hand behind your back with your elbow near your waist. Now, put your right hand behind your back, with your elbow up in the air. See if you can touch your fingers together and inter-lock them.
If you can’t, don’t worry! Do this exercise every day, switching arms as you may find that one way you can do it and the other you can’t. Within a couple of weeks, you won’t just be touching fingers, you’ll be able to lock your hands together and gently tug.
Good for Metabolism
The higher your metabolism the better you’ll burn calories and the easier you’ll find it to lose or maintain your weight.
The great news is that you can boost your metabolic rate by stretching daily.
Stretching encourages blood flow to your muscles as they need to work to hold any position you choose. This will gradually strengthen your muscles and help you to burn more calories.
Raising your calorific burn increases your metabolism while stretching and for a short while afterward. However, strengthening your muscles means that you’ll burn more calories throughout the day; effectively boosting your metabolism and improving your weight loss results.
Top Tip: Don’t forget that stretching and exercise are only part of the equation. To lose weight successfully you need to adopt a healthy eating plan. It doesn't need to be daunting, check out this free 1-day meal plan to see how easy it can be to eat better.
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Improves Blood Flow & Lowers Cholesterol
The simple act of stretching can offer a profound benefit to your health. The first part of this is the increased blood flow to your organs and the tissues in your body. I've already mentioned this, but it's important to be aware that increased blood flow will improve the operation of these organs.
In short, it will help you feel your best and perform better, both physically and mentally.
But that’s not all! The increased movement of blood will help to prevent hardening of your arteries and can even lower your LDL cholesterol levels, (the bad cholesterol). Research confirms this fact.
How Stretching Helps Weight Loss
There are several ways in which stretching daily can help you to lose weight.
- Increased Abilities
Stretching is often seen as something you just do before exercise. While it is beneficial for this it is also an effective way to increase the capabilities of your muscles.
Every time you stretch you’ll help to keep your muscles loose, reducing the risk of injury when you exercise and improving your ability to exercise harder.
The result is improved performance when you do exercise, increasing the calories you burn and helping you to lose weight; providing you’re consuming fewer calories than your maintenance amount.
- Extra Calorie Burn
Alongside your increased performance you mustn't forget that the act of stretching will burn more calories than if you weren't stretching.
In simple terms, stretching burns calories, the more calories you burn the greater your weight loss potential.
Examples Of Effective Stretching Techniques
The beauty of stretching is that it doesn't have to be a long drawn-out process. You simply need to commit to doing it on a regular basis.
At first, this will take motivation, creating a time slot in your schedule will help. Over a short period of time, this will develop into a habit; which is essential if you want to continue it for the long term.
Here are some great stretches to get you started:
Lie face down on the floor or a mat. Keep your feet together as you place your hands under your shoulders. Push your upper body upwards by straightening your arms; keeping your waist on the floor.
To finish lean your head back towards your feet. Try to stay in this position for 30 seconds. It works your abs, chest, shoulders, back, and even your hips.
This exercise will stretch and strengthen your back, core, and hips. Start by standing with your feet shoulder width apart.
Slowly move your left leg back to create a diagonal line from your waist to the floor. Your right leg should move forward, bending at the knee to ensure your thigh is parallel to the floor.
Reach your arms upwards and hold for 30 seconds; you can then return to the starting position and switch legs.
The Side Lunge
You’re probably already familiar with the lunge, however, the side lunge is a great way to stretch your quads, hamstrings, and even your hip flexors.
Start by standing up with your feet shoulder width apart. Then lunge one foot to the side, bending your knee to get your thigh parallel to the floor. Your other leg will extend diagonally; without your foot moving.
Now lean your body slightly forward, if necessary holding your weight and maintaining balance by placing your hands on your bent knee. Hold it for 30 seconds and then switch legs.
You need to stretch your inner thighs and groins. These are some of the most painful injury areas!
Start by sitting on the floor, keep your back straight, and your legs in front of you. Slowly bring your feet together. The soles of your feet should be touching each other as your knees go out to the sides.
You can then gently push down on your thighs. Ideally, you’ll be able to get your legs to touch the floor but don’t force it; you’ll be able to do this in time. Hold for another 30 seconds.
Don’t forget: Any stretch should be pushed far enough to feel the burn but not to feel pain.
Knees To Chest
Lie on your back on the floor with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent. Wrap your arms around your knees and then bring them towards your chest.
Your head and shoulders must remain on the floor. Hold the pose for 30 seconds, you’ll get closer to your chest every time you do this.
This is a great way to stretch and strengthen your entire back.
Work Your Triceps
You've done your legs, core, shoulders, chest, and back. But, you should also add the tricep stretch. This doesn't just target your triceps. It will also improve your back and shoulders.
You’ll need to start by standing up with your feet shoulder width apart. Then, stretch both your arms straight into the air above you. Slowly bring one arm down to the back of your head, bending 90 degrees at the elbow. Use your other hand to hold the elbow in place and slowly pull it towards your head until you feel the burn. Then just hold for 30 seconds before you switch arms.
You've probably heard of this and had a chuckle. However, the fact is that it’s a great stretching exercise for your legs, hips, back, shoulders, and even your arms. Plus, no one has to see you doing it!
To start you’ll need to go onto your hands and knees, your hands should be a little in front of your shoulders. Now raise yourself up by straightening your arms and legs, keeping your feet almost flat on the floor.
Push the heel of your feet towards the floor while tipping your head towards your feet, this will maximize the stretch; again, you’ll need to hold it for 30 seconds.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and stay relaxed. Place your hands behind your back and lock them together. Keep your arms straight and pull your arms away from your back, staying as close as possible to the line of your bottom.
You’ll feel your chest stretching as you hold this one for just 20 seconds.
Start Your New Schedule Today
The trick with stretching is that it’s a long term thing. You may only spend 10 minutes stretching in the morning and another 10 in the evening, but if you do this every day, you’ll really feel the benefits.
Put it this way, it’s taken you months, or even years to get your muscles tight. You're not going to loosen them with a few stretching sessions. You need to commit to doing stretches daily as this will loosen your muscles, improve your flexibility, and boost your overall health!
That’s a good reason to spare 10 minutes a day!
Of course, it can be hard to build a habit. To solve this issue, join the FF30X program, enlist a friend to stretch with you, and get all the support and advice you need. You won’t just be better at stretching, you’ll lose weight, build lean muscle, and become the man you want to be.
The first step in stretching for weight loss is joining the FF30X, the rest will happen, one step at a time.
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*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on stretching for weight loss.