Why Does Stretching Feel Good? (How To Stretch Safely)

Stretching has a lot of benefits, like lowering stress levels, improving blood circulation, and reducing your risk of injuries. It also feels relaxing, particularly after being inactive for a while. 

A lot of people start their morning off by stretching, often before they get out of bed. Others also like to stretch after a warmup or to finish off a workout. This may make you wonder, why does stretching feel so good?

Why Does Stretching Feel Good? (How To Stretch Safely)

We’ll cover the answer in this post, going over the reasons why stretching feels nice, some tips to help you stretch safely, and a few simple stretches you can try yourself at home.

Why Stretching Feels Good

People typically gravitate to pleasurable activities, like stretching. As the body’s reward system makes stretching feel nice, this helps encourage humans to maintain limber, agile muscles. 

Here are some of the reasons why stretching feels nice:

Better Blood Flow

As a muscle stretches, the body starts to circulate more blood toward the area. Any blood vessels surrounding the active muscle start dilating.

This lets a greater volume of blood pass through, while the heart begins to pump a larger amount of blood. 

The enhanced blood circulation lets the muscles that are stretching remove metabolic waste products and obtain a larger amount of oxygen. 

Triggers Parasympathetic Nervous System

Studies have found that static stretching prevents the sympathetic nervous system from activating, while also triggering the parasympathetic nervous system. 

The parasympathetic nervous system handles the body’s digestion and rest processes. It can also prompt calm and relaxing sensations. 

Produces Endorphins

Endorphins are substances created by the pituitary gland and central nervous system.

They are a type of neurotransmitter that has impressive pain-relieving qualities. Endorphins can lead to euphoric feelings as they attach to the brain’s receptors. 

Endorphins are involved with the human body’s reward system. They are triggered by certain activities, like drinking, exercise, sex, and eating.  

There aren’t that many studies that look into stretching and endorphin releases, though a 2015 paper found that stretching may ease menstruation pain.

It’s believed that these soothing qualities are related to beta-endorphin production, prostaglandin inhibition, and blood vessel relaxation. 

Eases Tight Muscles

A lot of people live with tight joints and muscles related to everyday activities. Many people spend the day hunched sitting down, either in the car, at home, or work. 

The body starts to adapt to these frequent positions, leading to tight joints and muscles. These tight areas affect other parts of the body, causing injuries and pain later down the line.

If someone experiences pain related to tightness in a certain area, stretching the tight muscle may ease their pain. 

Stiff muscles can also prevent proper movement, meaning a person may move in a substandard manner. This can cause pain, but stretching these particular muscles can soothe any discomfort. 

Tips To Stretch Safely

Now that you know why stretching feels good, here are some tips to help you stretch safely.

Warming Up

Always warm up before you stretch. Muscles find it easier to stretch when they are warm, instead of when they are cold. 

A warm-up doesn’t need to be complicated. This could involve marching on the spot and moving your arms for several minutes, jumping jacks, or even dancing to your favorite tunes. 

If you prefer, a warm shower or moist heat packs will help warm the muscles up as well.

Avoid Pain

Stretching should never be painful. You should stretch until you feel a gentle strain, but not until you feel pain. 

If a stretch begins to hurt, stop at once. Carefully go back to your starting position, then slowly try the stretch again. If you keep practicing regularly and consistently, you’ll notice your flexibility improve. 

Why Does Stretching Feel Good? (How To Stretch Safely)

Maintain Proper Form

Good posture is essential, whether you’re standing, moving, or sitting. Proper form also relates to enhanced flexibility and a decreased risk of injury when working on tight muscles. 

Remember To Breathe

Keep breathing while you stretch. You should be able to breathe comfortably without any issues. 

Never hold your breath as you stretch, as this prevents your muscles from receiving oxygenated blood. This increases lactic acid production, leading to more pain later on. 

Keep Consistent

Keep practicing your stretches regularly. You’ll see the most improvement if you stretch daily, or on as many days of the week as you can. 

At a minimum, aim to practice stretches between two to three times each week. 

Simple Stretches To Try At Home

Stretching has an advantage, as you can practice the movements anywhere! You won’t need any equipment, though some prefer to practice the steps on a yoga mat. 

Here are some straightforward stretches that you can try yourself at home. 

Neck Roll

The neck roll is a basic stretch that’s great for desk workers. This process can help ease any tension in the neck, particularly following lengthy sitting periods.

Follow these steps to practice the stretch:

  1. Sit on a chair with your back straight, keeping your ears positioned over your shoulders. 
  2. Gradually roll your head ahead and to the right. You should notice a stretch in your neck’s left side. Keep this stretch for ten seconds.
  3. Slowly return to the beginning position, then perform the same steps on the opposite side.
  4. Perform the steps three times in both directions. 

Sitting Torso Stretch

This seated movement stretches the back and core muscles.

Follow these steps to perform the stretch:

  1. Begin by sitting in a chair. Keep your back straight and your feet flat on the floor. 
  2. Use one hand to grip the back of your chair. Twist your torso in the same direction as your hand.
  3. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, then come back to the starting position. 
  4. Perform the same steps on the opposite side. 


This stretch will help stretch and open up your chest, abs, shoulders, and neck muscles. 

Follow these steps to perform the stretch:

  1. Begin lying on your stomach. Keep your arms close to your chest, hands directly beneath the shoulders, and your fingers facing in front of you. 
  2. Push through your hands to raise your upper torso above the floor. Your arms should straighten as you do so. If you want to deepen the stretch, lean your head backward. 
  3. Hold the stretch with a gentle bend in your elbows for 30-60 seconds. 

Forward Lunge

This deep stretch targets your core, groin, thigh, and hip muscles.

Follow these steps to perform the stretch:

  1. Step forward with your right foot, entering a lunge position. Keep your back knee on the floor with your left leg extended. Your right knee should be directly over the right foot, but not in front of it.
  2. Place your hands on the floor on the side of your foot. If you prefer, you can raise your hands to the sky or place them on your knees.
  3. Breathe deeply as you open your chest, stretching the spine as you do so. 
  4. Stay in the stretch for a minimum of five breaths. 
  5. Perform the same steps for the opposite side. 

Final Thoughts

Stretching generally feels good as it increases blood circulation and triggers the parasympathetic nervous system. Stretching may also help produce endorphins that improve your mood and ease pain.

Stretching may feel good, but it’s important to practice the movements safely. Never stretch cold muscles, keep breathing comfortably, and stop stretching if you notice any pain. This will help prevent injuries and soreness later on. 

Remember to consult your doctor or medical provider if you are new to stretching, particularly if you live with chronic health issues or injuries. 

Laura Simmons
Latest posts by Laura Simmons (see all)