How Stretching Can Help You Lose Weight

Maintain a healthy active body with daily flexibility training

Woman stretching leg on park bench
Koen Meershoek/Stocksy United

Do you do flexibility training as part of your daily workout? Do you do any stretching exercises on a regular basis?  If you are trying to lose weight, you should.  Flexibility exercises are not big calorie burners, but they play an important role in a weight loss program.

Benefits of Stretching

The best thing about flexibility training is that you don't have to do it very often to enjoy the benefits.

  Just a few minutes of stretching each day will help to improve the range of motion in your joints, help to decrease the risk of injury during exercise and reduce stress.

So what flexibility exercises should you do?  You can do simple stretches when you get out of bed each morning.  This will help to loosen up your joints and start your day with healthy movement.  There are also some great stretches that you can do at your desk while you are at work.  You can also take a yoga class to lose weight or a learn the practice of tai chi to improve your health.

3 Ways Flexibility Improves Weight Loss

Even though you won't burn mega calories during a short stretching session, your body functions better when your joints move more comfortably.  This can boost your weight loss program in several different ways.

  • Decreased stress.  Flexibility exercises help to get your blood pumping, but not in a way that increases your adrenaline.  Stretching and breathing exercises help to improve your mood and lower your stress level. This may be especially helpful for dieters who are trying to curb emotional eating. If you can replace the trip to the refrigerator with 5 minutes of healthy stretching, you're likely to eat less and slim down faster.
     
  • Improved NEAT.  Organized workouts are important, but the calories you burn from NEAT play a big role in the total number of calories you burn each day. You're more likely to move more throughout the day if your joints and limbs feel good.  Stretching helps to keep you active.
     
  • More effective workouts.  Aerobic activity and strength training for weight loss is more effective when you perform each exercise fully.  Stretching helps keep your body in top shape so that you burn more calories during your workouts and you spend less time recovering from injuries or soreness.

    Flexibility training alone won't burn enough calories to make a big difference in your daily energy balance.  But when you pair stretching exercises with a complete workout program, you'll benefit from a healthier body and improve your chances of weight loss.

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