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Fitness » Stretching For Weight Loss: Feel-Good Exercises That Kick Extra Pounds To The Curb

Stretching For Weight Loss: Feel-Good Exercises That Kick Extra Pounds To The Curb

easiest stretching for weight loss

Stretching For Weight Loss

Can you really stretch your way to your perfect weight? Is stretching for weight loss actually a real thing? Here at Betterme, we want to show you some unique ways to lose weight. Perhaps, you never thought you could use stretching exercises to lose weight. Well, it is very possible.

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For you to lose weight you have to adapt a certain lifestyle. A lifestyle involves all the things you do every single day. The three main pillars of general fitness are strength, aerobic endurance and flexibility. None of these three pillars is more important than the other. You need to find a way to incorporate all of them into your fitness journey as well as balance them all. 

You need to go to the gym and do various resistance training exercises in order to build those muscles and incorporate cardio and flexibility exercises to slim down and tone up. When fitness is a lifestyle, you need to understand it is not only going to the gym to lift heavy weights that matters. Small things like walking up and down the stairs, carrying groceries from the shop to the car, carrying your toddler, light stretches at the end of a busy day, – all of these things play a significant part in your weight loss journey. 

Why Stretching?

  • Stretching is an important part of working out that most people skip (4). It is part of the flexibility exercises. Stretching is important and should be done by not only people who want to keep fit or lose weight but by everyone. 
  • It is first of all important because it helps prepare your body for the work out session you are about to have (9). This is why most people are usually encouraged to stretch before they start working out. 
  • Stretching is also important because it increases your flexibility (11). Being flexible is always a good thing. When you are flexible you can do certain things that people who are not so flexible can’t do without the risk of injuries. Flexibility also helps make every day tasks easier. 
  • It helps relax tired muscles. This is particularly helpful if you have to go back to the gym the next day. You don’t want to have tired muscles. That is why you are always encouraged to stretch after a workout.
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Some more stretching benefits

  • Stretching helps improve the range of motion of your joints (5). This is very important as it helps to keep you mobile. 
  • It helps promote a better posture. A better posture is something we all want. When you have a good posture you are more confident. Can you imagine that the only thing that has been standing between you and a good posture is your lack of stretching? Why don’t you pull out that mat and get to stretching. 
  • Stretching helps prevent injuries (12). Injuries are likely to happen if your muscles and joints are tight. Stretching helps warm up muscles and joints and makes them looser. Loose muscles and joints have a less likelihood of getting injured. 
  • The best part about stretching is that it can be done anywhere, at any time and needs no equipment. This means you don’t have an excuse as to why you haven’t been stretching. 

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Essentials To Stretching Correctly

I know you are wondering if there is a wrong way to stretch. Yes, there is and maybe the reason you haven’t been getting the desired results is because you’ve been stretching wrongly. Here are top 6 stretching essentials: 

1. You should target the major muscle groups when stretching

Do you know the major muscles groups in your body? If not, you are in the right place. The upper body, the midsection and the lower body each have a couple of muscles you should stretch. Here are all the various major muscles and where they are located. 

Upper Body Muscles (15)

  • Biceps – These muscles are located at the front of your upper arm (10).
  • Triceps – These muscles are opposite the biceps. They are found at the back of your arm (10)
  • Deltoids – These muscles are located on the cap of your shoulder. 
  • Rhomboids – These muscles are located between your shoulder blades. 
  • Pectoralis major – These are the muscles that cover your chest. They are commonly known as the pecs. 
  • Trapezius muscles – They are located on the upper part of your back. They are also referred to as the traps. 
  • Latissimus dorsi – They are located on the middle portion of your back. 
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Midsection Muscles (15)

When these muscles are toned, they are referred to as abs or six packs. 

Lower Body Muscles  (15)

  • Quadriceps – These muscles are located at the front of your thighs. They are commonly referred to as quads. 
  • Glutes – These are the muscles that cover your buttocks. They are commonly known as the glutes. 
  • Hamstrings – These muscles are located at the back of your thighs. 
  • Adductors – These are the muscles of your inner hips
  • Abductors – These are the muscles of your outer hips. 

Since you know all the major muscle groups and where they are located, when working out, make sure you focus on them. You should also make sure to stretch the muscles and joints you oftenly use when working, playing, walking etc.

How can Stretching Help You Lose Weight?
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2. You should warm up first

Stretching your muscles when they are cold increases the chances of getting injured (3). Before stretching, you should warm up by walking while gently pumping your arms. Another way to warm your muscles is to do your favourite exercise at low intensity for at least five minutes. When your muscles are warm, start stretching slowly and gently.

3. You should carry out each stretch for at least thirty seconds

It is important to note that it takes time to lengthen tissues safely (3). Holding your stretches for at least thirty seconds and at most sixty seconds  for muscles that are really tight should work perfectly. You should repeat each stretch on the other side. A single stretch is usually enough for most muscle groups.

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4. You should not bounce when stretching

When you bounce as you stretch, you move your muscles from the stretch position. This does not allow your muscles to relax. This then makes you less flexible and more prone to pain. When stretching, hold your position (7). 

5. Stretching should be pain free

When stretching, you should expect to feel tension. If that tension turns to hurting, you should take this as a sign that you’ve gone too far. You should relax until you are back to the point where it does not hurt. Hold it there and continue with your stretching (14). 

6. You should relax and breath freely

It is important to breathe while stretching. I know you might be tempted to hold your breath but you shouldn’t (3).

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How Does Stretching Help You Lose Weight?

Weight loss as discussed earlier involves changing your lifestyle. This means changing from eating anything you want at any time to having a healthy diet. This means changing from sitting on the coach the whole day to joining the gym. It also means incorporating new things like stretching into your lifestyle.  With that said, do you think stretching is enough to help you lose weight? 

First and foremost, you need to know stretching will help you lose more weight than sitting on the coach the whole day. Let us see how much weight you would lose from stretching. 

Calories Burned From Stretching

Stretching does not make you lose a lot of calories. If you want to lose more calories you should try more active exercises. In order for stretching to trigger loss of calories it should be long and vigorous. Here are examples of how much weight you would lose from stretching: 

If you are one hundred and twenty five pounds, you are likely to burn around seventy calories from performing a thirty minute stretching routine. If you are one hundred and fifty pounds, you are likely to burn eighty five calories from performing a thirty minute stretching exercise. If you are two hundred pounds, you are likely to lose one hundred and thirteen calories from a thirty minute stretching routine (8, 2).

The question that arises is, isn’t that the same number of calories you would lose while seated down doing nothing? The answer is no. If you are one hundred and fifty pounds, you would lose thirty four calories from sitting down for thirty minutes. That is about one calorie per minute. A person who is one hundred and twenty five pounds is likely to burn twenty eight calories from sitting down quietly for thirty minutes. If you are two hundred pounds, you are likely to burn forty five calories from sitting down for thirty minutes (8).

Other than losing weight directly from stretching, here are some more benefits of stretching for weight loss.

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Stretching For Good Sleep

Quality sleep is important for managing your weight. When you sleep better you feel better, that is something we can all agree on. The purpose is not just to sleep longer, but the quality of sleep to be better. An adult human being requires between seven to nine hours of quality sleep. Sleep has  many benefits to a human being. For instance, quality sleep helps boost your immunity. A stronger immune system helps reduce your chances of getting sick. To add to that, sleep also helps lower your chances of getting serious health issues like diabetes, and heart diseases. Sleep also helps one reach and maintain a healthy weight. 

Not getting enough quality sleep disrupts your hormones. This in turn messes with your body’s appetite signals causing you to overeat and not feel satisfied. Chronic insomnia is also associated with gaining weight and even obesity. How then does stretching help with this? 

Stretching promotes a healthy sleeping pattern by helping your body relax as well as reducing the tension in your body. Once you are relaxed, it is easy for you to have good quality sleep.

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Stretching For Stress Reduction

Stress is a weight-loss inhibitor. When you are stressed, cortisol, which is the hormone associated with stress, is released. This can help trigger weight gain. How does this happen? Everytime you are stressed, adrenaline and cortisol are released to the bloodstream. The process of releasing these two hormones requires glucose. When you stop being stressed, you have to replenish the glucose that was used, and hence you find yourself eating more. 

How does stretching help with this? Stretching helps to get your blood pumping, but not in a way that increases your adrenaline. Breathing and stretching exercises for weight loss help improve your mood and lower your stress level. Stretching for weight loss is particularly helpful to people who are trying to get rid of emotional eating. Next time you feel stressed, instead of rushing to the refrigerator, pull out your mat and do some stretching exercises. 

Stretching Improves Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis

It is important to go to the gym and work out. This helps you cut down those extra calories and in turn reduce your weight. Although working out is essential, non-exercise activities also contribute to your weightloss journey as you lose calories through them. Non-exercise activities are the normal activities you do from day to day. An example could be walking to and from your car, or moving from your work desk to the water dispenser and all other movements you make during the day. You are likely to move a little bit more and to move comfortably if your joints and limbs feel good. Stretching helps to keep you active and helps increase your range of motion. This in turn helps  you burn more calories through non-exercise activities. 

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Stretchings Helps You Have More Effective Workouts

Exercises are more effective when they are performed continuously, regularly and fully. This applies to all kinds of exercises from cardio to resistance training. Stretching helps keep your body active. It also helps reduce injuries that occur from training. Stretching helps keep your body in top shape so that you can burn more calories while working out. It also helps you spend less time recovering from injuries and soreness (16).

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Stretching Exercises For Weight Loss

Highlighted below are some stretching exercises you can try and instructions on how to do them effectively. 

The Triangle

This stretching exercise targets your legs, the obliques, your hips, your shoulders, as well as your chest (1).

How to do it: 

  • The first thing to do is to stand on your mat with your feet spread apart. Your feet should at least be four feet apart. 
  • The next thing to do is to turn your left foot forty five degrees and to turn your right foot ninety degrees. 
  • Hold your arms parallel to the floor and start stretching to the left, as if you were trying to reach for something.
  • Breath out and bend your body to the left, so that your left hand could touch your ankle
  • Stretch your right hand towards the ceiling. 
  • Hold this position for about thirty to thirty five seconds.
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The Cobra

This exercise works your shoulders, your back, your chest, your abs, your hips and your obliques (13).

How to do it: 

  • Firstly, stretch your hands at your sides and lie down on your mat with your feet together. 
  • Lift your upper body.
  • Lean your head back. 
  • Hold this position for about twenty to thirty seconds. 

The Inner Thigh Stretch

This stretching exercise targets your inner thighs and your groin muscles (1).

How to do it: 

  • The first thing you need to do is to sit on your mat with your back straight
  • Secondly, bring the soles of your feet together, drop you knees out to the sides. 
  • Using your hands, slightly press your knees towards the floor until you start feeling a gentle stretch
  • Hold that position for about twenty five to thirty seconds. 
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The Downward Dog

This stretching exercise focuses on your legs, your hips, your back, your  shoulders and your arms (6).

How to do it:

  • You start while you are on your hands and knees. 
  • Breath out as you straighten your arms and your knees.
  • Press your heels towards the floor and face your head towards your feet. 
  • Hold that position for about fifteen to twenty seconds. 

The Seated Twist

This stretching exercise targets your back, your abs, and your obliques (1).

How to do it: 

  • Sit down on your mat. Stretch one of your legs in front of you. Bend the other at the knee and cross it over the other one.
  • Twist your body towards the bent knee. 
  • Keep twisting your body and hold that position for about twenty to thirty seconds.
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The Bow

This stretching exercise targets your abs, your back, and your hips (1).

How to do it: 

  • Firstly, lie down on your stomach and stretch your arms back and up. 
  • Then bend your knees and hold your ankles with your hands. 
  • Then make sure to keep the tops of your shoulders away from your ears. 
  • Hold this position for about twenty to thirty seconds.

Tricep Stretch

This stretching exercise targets your back, your shoulders, your triceps, and even your abs (1).

How to do it: 

  • First stand tall, with your feet apart, and stretch your arms upwards. 
  • Then bend your right elbow and hold the elbow with your left hand.
  • Gently pull the elbow towards your head. 
  • Hold this position for fifteen to twenty seconds. 
  • After the time has elapsed, repeat the process with the other arm.
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The Warrior

This stretching exercise targets your hips, your back, and your abs (1).

How to do it: 

  • From a standing position make a big step with your left foot towards the back of your mat. Rotate your left foot forty five degrees towards the center of the mat.
  • Bend your right foot ninety degrees, so that your knee is exactly above your ankle. Keep your back leg straight. 
  • Raise your arms towards the ceiling;
  • Hold this position for about twenty five to thirty seconds. 
  • After the time has elapsed, repeat the process with the other leg. 

Knees Stretch

This stretching exercise targets your upper, middle, and lower back muscles (1).

How to do it: 

  • Lie on your back, then bend both knees and hold them with your arms. 
  • Bring your knees towards your chest until you feel a gentle stretch.
  • Hold this pose for twenty five to thirty seconds.

The Bridge

This stretching exercise targets your hips, your glutes, your legs, and your abs (1).

How to do it: 

  • Lie down on your back, with your arms stretched at your sides, and your knees bent at ninety degrees.
  • Slowly lift your body upwards.
  • Press your shoulders/upper back to the floor.
  • Hold this position for about ten to fifteen seconds.
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The Sitting Side Bend

This stretching exercise targets your obliques, your back, your abs, and your shoulders (1).

How to do it: 

  • Sit on your mat with your legs crossed, or you may sit on a chair if it’s more comfortable for you.
  • Lift your left arm straight above your head, lean it to the left.
  • Do this until you feel a gentle stretch in your left side.
  • Hold this position for ten to fifteen seconds. 
  • After the time has elapsed, repeat the process with the other side.

The Side Lunge

This stretching exercise targets your hip flexors, your quads, and your hamstrings (1).

How to do it:

  • Lunge your right leg to the side, until the knee is bent at an angle of ninety degrees.
  • Your left leg should be extended towards the left side, and your left foot should be on the floor.
  • Lean your upper body slightly forward.
  • Hold this position for twenty five to thirty seconds.
  • After the time has elapsed, repeat the process with the other side.

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The Bottom Line

Stretching for weight loss is possible as you have seen above. Try to incorporate stretching exercises into your fitness journey. If you are new to fitness, this would be a nice place to start as you gradually increase the intensity of your workouts. It is always important to note that working out is not a magic trick and it may take some time before you can get the expected results. . Check out the 20 Minute Full Body Workout at Home below.

DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any medical conditions. Any action you take upon the information presented in this

SOURCES:

  1. 12 Stretches You Can Do at Home to Burn Fat (n.d., brightside.me)
  2. Does Stretching Burn Calories? (2019, livestrong.com)
  3. Flexibility: Stretch your way to better health (n.d., mayoclinic.org)
  4. Stretching (2018, healthline.com)
  5. Stretching: 9 Benefits, Plus Safety Tips and How to Start (2019, healthline.com)
  6. Stretching Exercises for Older People to Lose Weight (n.d., livehealthy.chron.com)
  7. Stretching: Focus on flexibility ( n.d., mayoclinic.org)
  8. Stretching for Weight Loss (2020, verywellfit.com)
  9. THE BEST STRETCHES FOR RUNNERS TO WARM UP AND COOL DOWN (2019, runtastic.com)
  10. The Big 7 Muscle Groups! (2019, bodybuilding.com)
  11. The importance of stretching (n.d. health.harvard.edu)
  12. Top 10 Benefits of Stretching (2014, acefitness.org)
  13. Weight loss: Three super effective Yoga stretches to burn belly fat (2018, timesnownews.com)
  14. What are the different types of stretches? (n.d., gundersenhealth.org)
  15. WHAT ARE THE MAJOR MUSCLE GROUPS FOR WEIGHT TRAINING? (n.d., exercise.com)
  16. Why stretching is (still) important for weight loss and exercise (2018, theconversation.com)
Ben William

Ben William

Ben is an experienced writer who is no stranger to fitness. His career goal is not only to educate people on proper exercising but also help them recognize the profound importance of healthy nutrition. As a writer, his top priority is to foster awareness about healthy lifestyle and encourage more people to transform their bodies and kick their deep-rooted habits. Ben strongly believes that anyone can achieve their fitness goals, as long as they work hard, stay on track and keep a positive mindset.

Inga Grebeniuk-Gillyer

Inga Grebeniuk-Gillyer

Hey there! I'm a European Champion in synchronized swimming who holds a Bachelor degree in Physical Education. I have experience in working with Olympic level athletes, produced National Champions, State Champions and helped athletes secure their spots on the National teams.
I don't just want to work with professional athletes. I strongly believe that my purpose is to help anybody I work with to achieve their fitness goals and become their best self.

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