The benefits of stretching — especially if you’re at home

Flexibility isn’t just about touching your toes or doing the splits. In actuality, flexibility is simply the amount of movement available at each joint. Flexibility is important to staying healthy and avoiding pain and injury.

Woman standing in a field with arms and legs outstretched.

The experts at Arizona Orthopedic Physical Therapy, a Physiquality member in Phoenix, point out that flexibility is needed to perform a number of activities that people do every day: Getting out of bed. Sitting down in a car — and getting up to run the errands you drove to. Doing household chores like dusting and vacuuming. Even picking up your child requires flexibility and strength.

Now that many of us are limiting where we go and how often we move, it’s even more important to make sure that we retain flexibility and joint mobility. One of our Michigan members, HealthQuest Physical Therapy, points out three key benefits to improved flexibility:

Improved flexibility and posture

Regular stretching improves flexibility and range of motion, which is how much your joint can move safely and without pain. Most of us don’t need the high range of motion needed in sports like gymnastics and dance. But improved range of motion and flexibility can make it easier to reach and bend and move, while reducing your risk of injury.

Older man sits on the floor with his left leg extended in front of him and his right leg bent behind him. He leans his weight on his left hand while reaching for his left foot with his right hand.

In addition, the experts at HealthQuest point out that improved flexibility in the back supports the spine, improves posture and reduces back pain.

Increased circulation

Improving how the blood flows through your body improves your health, bringing oxygen to muscles and blood to your organs. This has also been shown to improve your mood and your energy levels. Stretching after exercise can also reduce soreness and improve recovery times.

Reduced tension

While this primarily relates to muscle tension, particularly after a workout, stretching can also help to relieve mental tension and reduce stress. And couldn’t we all use a little stress relief right now?

Out of focus image of a woman holding her head, implying pain.

There are a few things to consider when you add stretching into your daily routine. Remember that stretching should never be forced or cause acute pain. The experts at Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy, another Physiquality member in Arizona, point out that many people are too aggressive when they stretch, which can cause pain and even injury. AZOPT notes to pay attention to proper form and to breathe through the stretch, rather than bouncing or pushing the body further. And the Mayo Clinic reminds you to stretch evenly — make sure if you do a stretch on one side or leg, be sure to repeat it on the other side.

Some of us might be moving less than usual, but it’s important to take care of that body. Stretching will help reduce pain, decrease your risk of injury, and make you feel better and more positive. And if you do feel acute pain when stretching, it’s a sign that something is wrong with your body — don’t wait to talk to your physical therapist about what might be causing it. Use our locator below to find a Physiquality member near you. Many members offer telehealth services and other options if you’re sheltering at home.

Thank you to our contributors:

Arizona Orthopedic Physical Therapy is a Physiquality member with six locations throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area, including The Kids Place, a clinic focused on pediatric PT. Founded by Ryann and Teri Roberts in 2007, AZOPT believes everyone should have the opportunity to Feel Better, Function Better, and Live Better.

Physiquality member Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy has several clinic locations in Arizona. Providers of physical therapy for more than 20 years, their PTs and PTAs deliver hands-on physical therapy with integrity and accountability, ensuring the best possible patient results.


HealthQuest Physical Therapy is a Physiquality member with 24 locations throughout Michigan. Started by Bill Knight and Stuart Siegner in 1999, their goals remain the same as when they opened their first clinic: provide high-quality rehabilitation and promote proactive healthcare.

Mayo Clinic.


Stretching: Just do it. HealthQuest Physical Therapy, July 19, 2018.

Zanath, Shane. AZ physical therapy expert explains how and why we stretch. Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy, August 28, 2015.

Range of motion. Science Direct.

“(169/365) Urrghh….” by Sarah G… is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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