What does stretching do to your body?
What does stretching do to your body? There are many opinions on the matter, some people advise that it is bad for you. Here we explore what stretching does to your body.
Fundamentally stretching, is called stretching for a reason. When you stretch you stretch the fibers of your body typically nearest to your joints.
The three key fibers that stretch out are your muscles, tendons and ligaments.
All three fibers have a semi normal set of lengths but as we get older and we do not use the fibers they have a tendency to shrink. By shrinking they can "stiffen up", and thus this is where increased flexibility comes from when stretching.
The most short term effects hit your muscles whereas the other fibers need repeated stretching to effect them.
So stretching just stretches the fibers out - nothing else?
Well no, by stretching the fibers out, your body can change the water content in your fibers, it can also stimulate new growth as stretching induces stem cells that are dormant in the fibers.
Stretching can also modify sensation. If you stretch for the first time in a while it may hurt, but by repeatedly stretching your body will change the way it feels that pain such that it can feel good.