It’s widely accepted that stretching should be part of our daily exercise routines. It is believed to be essential when it comes to avoiding injuries, maintaining optimal motion in our joints, and even reducing stress levels.
In addition to these commonly known benefits, many people wonder if stretching has any benefits in relation to burning calories.
On top of that, a lot of people want to know if stretching helps improve weight loss and tone the body.
The fact you’ve stumbled across this post would suggest that you ask yourself these questions too.
If so, you’ve come to the right place. In today’s post, we’re going to answer your questions. We’ll tell you if stretching burns calories, whether or not it aids weight loss, and much more.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
What Is Stretching?
Before we do anything else, you need to know exactly what stretching is. The chances are, you probably already have a good understanding of what stretches are, however, you might not know everything!
Stretching is a movement that involves moving a joint through its full range of motion. There are stretches that hold the end range of a movement for longer than others.
Other stretches hold the end range of movement for just a few seconds.
On top of that, some forms of stretching require the individual to contract their muscles during each movement. There are even stretches that require your muscle to be passive.
Regardless of the stretch an individual decides to do, stretching is a great way to improve flexibility. This helps us achieve full movement, reduce the risk of injuries, and reverse the effects of repetitive positions such as sitting.
So, Does Stretching Burn Calories?
So, now we know what stretching is, let’s answer the question you came here looking for the answer to.
Technically, yes, stretching does burn calories. However, it’s probably not the best activity to perform if you want to burn a lot. Generally speaking, stretching alone isn’t considered to be a high calorie-burning activity.
In fact, more often than not, the results are pretty poor.
On average, a person that weighs 150 pounds will only burn a measly 2.7 calories for every minute they stretch. For every 10 minutes of stretching, this works out at 27 calories.
To put that into perspective, we burn an average of 50 calories every time we walk for 10 minutes.
The good thing is that the number of calories you can burn from stretching can be increased to make it more beneficial. We’ll look at this next!
How Can We Burn More Calories When Stretching?
If you want to burn more calories when stretching, there are a couple of different things you can do. Having said that, most of the things you can do to increase calories burnt involve some form of other activity.
When stretching is mixed with activities that have a more moderate to high intensity, you will burn more calories. Examples of activities that can include stretching are dynamic warm-ups and intense forms of yoga.
Warm-ups should consist of dynamic stretching, sport-related movements, and aerobic activity. If you were to carry out an activity like this, you could expect to burn approximately 41 calories per 10 minutes instead of 27.
Alternatively, you could take part in power yoga. Power yoga is more intense than traditional yoga, burning 36-71 calories every 10 minutes.
Over the course of a 60-minute yoga session, you could burn between 216 and 426 calories.
Without these activities, the number of calories burned is minimal.
Does Stretching Promote Weight Loss?
So, we know burning calories through stretching is possible but does doing so benefit us when it comes to losing weight?
To put it simply, yes, stretching can assist your weight loss journey. However, the effects won’t be anywhere near as great as those on offer from running, biking, or cycling.
Stretching increases the number of calories you burn in a day. By burning more calories, you actively lose weight. Stretching isn’t going to let you lose lots of weight but it will certainly help.
Sadly though, we would still recommend more intense activities like HIIT.
Does Stretching Help Tone The Body?
What about stretching and its effect on toning?
Well, interestingly enough, recent studies may suggest that there is a small correlation between muscle hypertrophy and stretching. If you don’t know, muscle hypertrophy is the growth and increase of muscle cells.
This correlation was seen when participants were asked to stretch between exercise sets and when more force was applied to each stretch.
Unfortunately, passive stretching didn’t show the same results. As a result, it still remains relatively unclear as to whether stretching helps us tone or not.
When Should You Stretch?
Stretching can be done on its own or added to a workout. When you should stretch will vary depending on the amount of exercise you’re doing, what you’re doing, and when you’re doing it.
Typically, we are advised to perform dynamic stretches before a workout.
This will increase the temperature of your muscles and improve movement. You should start by carrying out light aerobic work before moving on to your main workout.
Your light aerobic work could consist of jogging, cycling, or walking.
We are also advised to perform static stretches before and in between sets. These stretches provide a better range of motion. Each stretch should be held for up to 60 seconds.
Finally, you should then stretch after your workout. Doing a cooldown will help your body restore its range of motion. It will also reduce the chance of injury and prevent cramps.
Top Stretching Tips
To finish off, we’d like to leave you with some stretching tips:
- Start nice and slow – You’ll find it easier to reach a greater range of movement if you adapt to the discomfort of stretches first.
- Consider your timing – If you plan on stretching before exercise or competition, make sure you perform the right amount of stretches. Ideally, you should stretch for 10 minutes.
- Stay consistent – When it comes to stretching your consistency is key. Your muscles will grow in strength and injuries will be less common.
- Stretch to moderate discomfort – Feeling slight discomfort when stretching is completely normal so don’t panic. It is actually a sign that the stretch is working.
In this post, we’ve shown you that stretching burns calories. However, we’ve also shown you that stretching isn’t that beneficial when burning calories.
On average, you will only burn 27 calories every 10 minutes. While this may not seem that bad, it is an awful lot less than other activities. Just by walking, we can burn up to 50 calories in 10 minutes.
On the flip side, stretching has been shown to aid weight loss. It may even help us tone our bodies.
Either way, when it comes to maintaining a full range of movement and reducing the risks of injuries, stretching is incredibly important.
Therefore, you should always do it before, during, and after exercise, even if you don’t burn many calories doing so.