How Stretching Can Give You Better Grades
Many people have heard the physical benefits of stretching, such as sciatica pain relief, better mobility, and limber muscles. But the perks don’t stop there! Did you know it also has many mental and emotional benefits as well? Would it be a stretch to say that it can even help you get better grades? Keep reading to learn the incredible effects that assisted stretching can have on your mind and body.
What is the Link Between Stretching and Your Brain?
Your body releases endorphins when you stretch. These feel-good chemicals interact with the receptors in your brain to reduce how you perceive pain. As a result, you’ll have this positive feeling in your body. It’s similar to that “runner’s high” people get after a vigorous workout. If you’ve ever been curious to know why stretching feels so good, this is the reason!
Mental and Physical Benefits of Stretching
Stretching is incredible for your mental and physical health. It’s possibly one of the easiest ways to incorporate movement in your day and relieve stress. Below are some of the psychological and physical advantages you will notice when you stretch more often.
Increased Blood Flow and Circulation
Stretching can increase blood flow and circulation to both your muscles and brain. What does that mean? When your blood circulation is poor, your body cannot get all the proper nutrients and oxygen it needs. A physical sign of poor circulation is cold or numb hands and feet, and a mental sign is brain fogginess.
Increased blood flow to the brain can help clear your mind and improve your mood. Both can help you make the best decisions and keep you focused, which can help you perform better academically.
Focused on Present Awareness
With better circulation to your brain, you can focus more on your awareness of the present day. We often forget to live in the current moment because we’re either overthinking about our responsibilities or past mistakes. These thoughts can contribute to a lot of stress.
In a way, stretching forces you to be more mindful of your body and what’s happening in the present moment. As you’re attempting to go into position, you’re becoming aware of what needs to be done to improve your health. Practicing focus and awareness can help you be a better student, too!
Encourages Relaxed Awareness to Mind and Body
As previously mentioned, you’re forced to be more aware of your body and breathing during a stretch. At that moment, you’re allowed to let your mind drift from all your stressors as you focus on breathing deeply and the muscles you’re moving. When you’re aware of even those tiny movements, you’re focusing on yourself and bringing awareness to your body. It’s also a great way to encourage relaxation.
Releases Emotion and Mood Hormones
Throughout your body, you have a myriad of hormones that help regulate your metabolism, insulin, and thoughts. The stress hormone, known as cortisol, is released during a stretch. You may notice that you start to feel much better and have a new outlook after a great stretch session. That’s because we stretched all the bad hormones out of you! Optimism can also have a positive impact on your performance in school.
Improves Balance and Strength
How can anyone feel their best when their muscles are tired and achy? Stretching is great for improving your balance, strength, flexibility, and range of motion. All of these are important for reducing your chances of getting an injury. When you stretch often enough, you should easily do your day-to-day activities with less pain.
Best Stretches for Your Body and Mind
Had a long day and need a mental break? We understand wanting to escape! If you’re looking for a way to clear your mind and relax your body, try stretching. Here are some of the best moves that provide incredible mental benefits.
This stretch is excellent for relieving a light lower back – and you get to practice self-love by hugging yourself! Having a professional assist you with this move can deepen the stretch in your lower back, hips, hamstrings, and thighs. This move can either be performed one leg at a time or with both legs simultaneously.
Lower Body Twist
This is another easy move that’s calming and healing. The lower body twist, or the supine twist, can release the lower back, elongate your spinal muscles, and open tight shoulders. It’s also a go-to move for quieting your mind so you can tune into your breath and body. Another incredible advantage of twisting stretches is that they can help improve digestion if that’s an issue for you.
The cobra pose is a great belly wakeup, as it stimulates your abdominal organs. It’s also ideal for relieving stress and fatigue while opening the heart and lungs. If you’re looking for sciatica pain relief, the cobra pose is excellent for soothing it as well. Another incredible benefit of the cobra pose is the improved blood circulation and oxygen throughout the spinal and pelvic regions. A healthy spine is a happy spine!
Leg swings are great for improving range of motion in the hips. These can be performed going forward and backward, laterally, or even in a circular motion. They’re great for getting your blood moving and reducing hip pain. You’ll want to have optimal range of motion in your hips so you can walk normally and free of pain.
Leg swings are perfect for individuals with desk jobs or who sit all day. The more you sit, the tighter your hips and quads will become. Make sure to come to StretchZone after your day at work so we can perform leg swings on you! It’ll clear your mind while relieving any pain you may have.
Arm swings are beneficial for your balance, blood flow, and tissue health. This move targets the shoulder blades to give them more mobility. As you walk, your arms should swing in a steady and fluid motion, and this move ensures your shoulder blades have the proper range of motion to achieve that fluid motion. Just like with leg swings, arm swings can be executed in different directions, and you can do one arm at a time if needed.
This is one of the classic moves to encourage resting and relaxation. The child’s pose is the go-to for releasing tension from your neck and shoulders and calming your mind. Many professionals recommend this stretch to quiet your mind and relieve stress. With a professional’s help, you can also get a nice stretch in the hips and thighs while easing lower back pain. No wonder the child’s pose is used in yoga so much! The mental and emotional benefits are incredible.
How Often Should You Stretch for Brain Benefits?
There’s no set standard for how often you should stretch, as everyone has different schedules and lifestyles. Of course, you’ll want to do it daily or as regularly as possible. We understand you might not have the time to come to our practice for a full-body stretch every day, and that’s okay. Even doing short stretches throughout the day can make a huge difference to your daily performance. It’ll also make your appointments with your stretching coach much easier!
The Best Way to Get Started
For those who aren’t flexible at all, you might be wondering what the best way to start stretching is. Before anything, you’ll want to determine your goals and have a plan on how to accomplish them. Setting realistic goals and planning how you’ll conquer them can help drive you to become a better version of yourself.
To ensure you get started and stay consistent with your stretching, here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Start slow
- Be patient
- Keep track of your progress
- Pay attention to how you’re feeling
We’re confident that you won’t want to stop once you start noticing the physical and mental benefits of regular stretching! The goal is to feel better in mind and body, and you have to START if you want those results.
Tips for Proper Execution
To get the most out of your stretching, you have to do each move properly. Otherwise, you won’t get the benefits you’re looking for or could even make your situation worse. Here are some tidbits you’ll want to keep in mind when you’re stretching and coming to our team for your next stretch session.
You don’t want to just pop into a stretch. First, you could seriously injure yourself that way. And secondly, it won’t get you results any quicker. You have to stretch gently and ease your body into the position until you feel a slight tension on the target muscle. Our stretch practitioners are always slow and careful during your appointment to ensure your comfort and safety.
Stretching is supposed to release the tension in your body, and it’s going to be harder to do so if you aren’t relaxed. You can’t achieve the maximum benefits of a stretch when your body is too tense, as it limits your range of motion and prevents your muscles from stretching. When you’re lying on our comfortable stretch table, this is your time to unwind. Make sure to relax so you can have a great session!
How do you stay relaxed during a stretch? You breathe! Many people make the mistake of holding their breath while they’re stretching, but it only makes the move less effective. You tense your whole body when you hold your breath, so you must remember to keep breathing. Our professional stretch practitioners will keep reminding you!
Use Proper Technique
You can stretch every single day, but if your technique is off, you might be doing more harm than good. For this reason, we like recommending people to go to a professional for help executing a stretch before trying it on their own. This is especially important if you’re very inflexible, as your lack of range of motion might not allow you to perform the stretch correctly. For a balanced range of motion on both sides of your body, make sure to stretch both sides equally.
Focus on Total Body Stretches
Another common mistake people make is only focusing on their upper body or their lower body when they stretch. You’re at an increased risk of postural imbalances if you don’t complete total body stretches or a good combination of upper and lower body moves. It’s a similar concept to focusing more on one part of your body while you work out. Don’t neglect the other half!
Determine the Best Stretch for You
Not everyone should be doing the same stretch. For example, someone recovering from an injury will need to do different moves than a person who is healthy. Certain stretches can delay the healing, so talk to a professional first to determine the best moves you should be doing.
Another factor to keep in mind is that people may have different problem areas that need more TLC. Although you should stretch your whole body, those with tighter hips will want to give those muscles some extra attention so they can feel better.
Many people don’t realize how stretching can affect the brain. The movement, pain relief, and improved blood circulation can make you feel happier and clear your mind. Your better mood can help you concentrate better in school or at work, improving your performance and grades.
To keep enjoying those incredible benefits, you’ll want to incorporate stretching into your daily routine as often as possible. You’ll quickly gain flexibility the more often you do it, and you’ll end up feeling better about yourself. It’s also in your best interest to be under a professional’s supervision if you’re particularly tight to ensure you’re doing the stretches accurately.
As with any new activity, you’ll want to start slowly and gradually increase your flexibility and range of motion. That’s arguably the best way to see results. You’d be surprised to see how much better you’ll feel and how happier you are when you’re clear-minded and not suffering from aches and pains. Do your brain and your body a favor, and keep up with your stretching!
Are You Ready to Get Better Grades and Sciatica Pain Relief?
At StretchZone, we’re dedicated to helping you feel better physically and mentally. The only thing better than finding relief from your pain is the mental boost you’ll feel from stretching with our incredible staff. Schedule a session with us today!