Why does stretching feel good? What Happens in Muscles When You Stretch

Source: http://www.hunterrehab.com.au

In this blog post, we will discuss why does stretching feel good? Muscles are actually designed to be stretched regularly!

When you stretch, you’re doing more than just lengthening your muscles.

You’re also activating mechanoreceptors that send signals to the brain telling it that everything is okay.

Let’s take a closer look at why we love that stretching feel and what happens in your muscles when you stretch them!

Parasympathetic nervous system

One of the most important things to know about stretching is that it activates the parasympathetic nervous system.

Source: http://www.gestaltreality.com

This part of the nervous system is responsible for rest and digestion functions like increased blood flow and repair of tissues.

When you stretch, your muscles are able to get more blood and oxygen which helps them to repair any damage that has been done.

Stretching also releases endorphins, which are hormones that block pain signals from the brain. Endorphins are often called the “feel-good” hormone because they can produce a sense of euphoria.

In addition to endorphins, stretching also releases serotonin, another hormone that has positive mood-boosting effects.

Sympathetic nervous system

When you stretch, your muscles send signals to your brain that it needs to relax. These signals are sent via the sympathetic system, which is responsible for your body’s fight-or-flight response.

When you’re in a situation where you need to be alert and ready for action, the sympathetic nervous system kicks into gear, releasing hormones like adrenaline and cortisol.

This increase in hormone levels makes your heart rate spike and gives you a burst of energy so you can deal with whatever threat or danger you’re facing.

While the sympathetic system is vital for survival, it’s not meant to be constantly active. When it is active for too long, it can lead to problems like high blood pressure, anxiety, and insomnia. That’s where stretching comes in.

Stretching helps to activate the parasympathetic system, which is responsible for rest and digestion.

Central nervous system


The central nervous system is responsible for sending signals to the brain telling it that everything is okay. When you stretch, your muscles are able to get more blood and oxygen which helps them to repair any damage that has been done.

Stretching also release endorphins, which are hormones that block pain signals from the brain. Endorphins are often called the “feel-good” hormone because they can produce a sense of euphoria.

Like the parasympathetic system, the central system releases both endorphins and serotonin making these stretches a must in your workout routine!

Pro tip: If you are struggling with your mental health give working out and these stretches a try!

Benefits of stretching: What does stretching help?

Stretching is a great way to take proper care of your body, whether you targeting major muscle groups or just trying to relieve stress regular stretching is beneficial in almost every aspect of your life, for example, if your experiencing back pain.

When you stretch, your muscles are able to lengthen and repair any micro-tears that have occurred from exercise or everyday activities.

Other pain-relieving effects include:

  • Increases blood circulation.
  • Creates flexibility in your muscles.
  • Fights poor posture by lengthening tight muscles that may be pulling your spine out of alignment.
  • Relieve stress and improve your mood.
  • Lower blood pressure

Dynamic stretching

Source: Runner’sworld.com

This form of stretching uses momentum to force your body into a position. It’s often used as part of a warm-up before physical activity, and research has shown that it can improve performance.

One study found that dynamic stretching improved vertical jump height, while another found that it can help you run faster. This makes this form of stretching great for athletes.

Benefits of Dynamic stretches

One theory is that it releases endorphins, which are hormones that have pain-relieving and mood-boosting effects. Additionally, dynamic stretches may increase blood circulation to your muscles, giving them the nutrients they need to perform at their best.

That is why stretching feels so good, stretching helps with mental health, reduced muscle tension, helps relieve panic attacks, relieves stress, and so much more!

So examples of dynamic stretches include:

-Neck rolls

-Shoulder shrugs

-Chest opener

Static stretching

Static stretching is when you push a muscle to its farthest point and hold it there for 30 seconds or more.

It’s the most common type of regular stretching, and what most people think of when they think of “stretching.” Static stretching activates your muscles and improves your range of motion. It also helps to relieve muscle tension in your body, which is why it feels so good.

When you stretch a muscle, you’re actually causing tiny tears in the muscle fibers. As the muscle heals, it becomes longer and stronger than it was before.

That’s why regular stretching can lead to improved flexibility and range of motion over time.

Benefits of Static stretches

When you stretch, your muscles are lengthening and contract at the same time. This dual-action is what makes stretching feel good. The contraction part of the stretch increases blood movement to the muscle, which brings in nutrients and oxygen that the muscle needs to repair itself.

The lengthening part of the stretch helps to increase range of motion and flexibility.

Static stretches are those where you hold a position for an extended period of time, usually 30 seconds or more.

Static stretches are great for beginners because they’re easy to do and don’t require any special equipment.


So examples of Static stretches include:

– Hamstring stretch

– Calf stretch

– Quadriceps stretch

10 Key Stretches to try:


Here are ten stretches to add to your stretching routine:

  • Neck Rolls
  • Shoulder shrugs
  • Chest Opener
  • Seated Hamstring
  • Cat cow pose
  • Child’s pose
  • Forward fold
  • Triangle Pose
  • Pigeon pose
  • Camel Pose

Neck rolls:

Start by sitting up tall with your shoulders relaxed. Slowly roll your head from side to side, letting your neck muscles relax as you go.

Shoulder shrugs:

Raise your shoulders up towards your ears, then release them back down. Repeat this several times to release tension in the shoulders.

Chest opener:

Stand with your arms behind you and interlace your fingers. Open your chest by pushing your arms back, then release and repeat.

Seated hamstring stretch:

Sit on the floor with both legs extended in front of you. Reach for one leg and pull it towards you, feeling the stretch in the back of the thigh. Hold for 30 seconds before switching sides.

Cat-cow Pose:

Start on all fours with your spine in a neutral position. As you inhale, arch your back and look up towards the ceiling. As you exhale, round your spine and tuck your chin towards your chest. Repeat this movement for a gentle spine stretch.

Child’s Pose:

From all fours, sit back on your heels and stretch your arms out in front of you. Rest your forehead on the floor and let your whole body relax into the stretch.

Forward fold:

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hinge at the hips to fold forward, letting your hands hang down towards the floor. Relax your head and neck and incorporate proper breathing deeply into the stretch.

Triangle pose:

Start in Warrior II pose with your front leg bent at 90 degrees and your back leg straight. Reach your hand down to touch the ground near your front foot, then extend your other arm up towards the ceiling. Gaze up at your top hand and hold for several breaths.

Pigeon pose:

From Downward Facing Dog, bring one knee forward to rest near your wrist. Lower the other leg down to the mat and slide it back until you feel a stretch in the hip. You can stay here or walk your hands forward and fold over your front leg for a deeper stretch.

Camel pose:

Kneel on the ground with your knees hip-width apart. Place your hands on your lower back and lean back, opening up your chest. Hold for a few breaths before release.

Bonus! Quadriceps stretch:

Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, bend one knee and grab your ankle with your hand. Pull your heel towards your buttock until you feel a stretch in your quadriceps. Hold for 40 seconds.

How to target your muscle when stretching?

Source: Lifehack.org

When you stretch, your muscles are literally lengthening. This is because when you contract a muscle, the sarcomeres (the basic units of muscle contraction) within the muscle shorten.

When you stretch the muscle, the sarcomeres lengthen again. This process of contracting and relaxing gives the blood in your muscle improved circulation and nutrients while also getting rid of waste products like lactic acid. That’s why stretching feels so good – it’s giving your muscles a chance to recover from all the work they’ve been doing!

But why does stretching feel especially good after a workout? Well, during exercise, your muscles produce more lactic acid than they can get rid of. This build-up of lactic acid makes your muscles feel tired and achy. Stretching helps to flush out the lactic acid and makes your muscles feel refreshed and invigorated. So after you workout a certain part of the body, get a good stretch in that now worked out part of the body.

Get greater pain relieving effects when you stretch targeted muscle groups.

What is the best time to stretch?

When you have tight muscles, your body is basically screaming at you to stretch them out. That’s because when muscles are tight, they’re in a state of contractedness called a muscle spasm.

Muscle spasms can be caused by a variety of things, including dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, muscle fatigue, and even stress.

Stretching helps to relieve tension by lengthening the muscle and easing the muscle tension that’s built up within it. When you stretch a muscle, you’re essentially giving it a mini massage which helps to break up any knots or trigger points that may have formed within the muscle tissue.

This not only feels good in the moment but can also help to prevent future episodes of tight muscles and help prevent muscle soreness.

Blood flow is key


When you stretch, your muscles lengthen and increase in size. This process is called muscle hypertrophy.

The extra space created by the increased muscle size allows for more blood circulation to the area. The stretching improves circulation and brings more oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, which helps them recover from exercise faster.

In addition, stretching increases the flexibility of your joints and connective tissues, which can help prevent injuries.

So why does blood flowing make stretching feel so good?

When blood vessels dilate, they release a chemical called nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator, meaning it relaxes smooth muscle tissue and makes blood vessels wider.

This action helps improve blood flow and makes muscles feel more relaxed. In addition, nitric oxide helps to reduce inflammation and pain in the muscles.

How does stretching affect blood pressure?

When you stretch, your muscles push against each other. This action increases blood pressure in the muscle tissue. The increased pressure forces more blood to flow into the muscles.

The extra blood brings fresh oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, which helps them repair and grow stronger. Additionally, the increased blood pressure flushes out waste products that can build up in the muscles.

The combination of all these factors is what makes stretching feel so good. It’s a way to give your muscles a much-needed break, and it can also help you prevent injuries in the future.

One final benefit of stretching is that it can help improve your flexibility. When you stretch regularly, you’re essentially training your muscles to be more flexible.


This can help you move more easily and reduce your risk of injuries.

Be sure to add stretching to your daily routine, and you’ll soon see the benefits it makes.


So, why does stretching feel so good? It’s because of the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system and the release of endorphins and serotonin. These hormones help to improve your mood, increase blood flow and oxygen to your muscles, and block pain signals from the brain. All of these things work together to make stretching an enjoyable experience.

It is important to promote relaxation and physical activity all in an effort to combat issues like nerve pressure, poor posture, or any other painful feeling. Keep in mind to stretch gently and to breathe deeply when stretching.

So the next time you’re feeling muscle soreness after a workout, try stretching! Not only will it help your muscles recover faster, but it will also feel great. I hope we answered, why does stretching feel good!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply