Can stretching help you lose weight? Many people think that stretching is an activity that only benefits their flexibility. However, when done correctly, stretching can also help you achieve your weight loss goals.
In this article we’ll look at why you might want to consider starting a daily stretching routine if you’re looking to lose weight. You’ll also learn what types of stretches work best to burn calories and get rid of excess fat.
- 1 Does Stretching Burn calories?
- 2 How stretching helps with weight Loss
- 3 Other benefits of stretching for weight loss
- 4 What are the best stretching workouts to lose weight?
- 5 The best fat burning stretch
- 6 Other benefits of stretching besides weight loss
- 7 Is stretching a good workout for weight loss?
- 8 Are there more effective workouts to lose weight than stretching?
- 9 Diet is key
- 10 Conclusion – Stretching for weight loss
Does Stretching Burn calories?
The short answer is yes! Any type of movement burns calories, from lifting heavy weights to picking up a pencil. Even sitting still burns calories because you are still using various muscles to keep yourself upright.
However, the higher the intensity of the movement, the more calories it will burn. Stretching generally isn’t a very high intensity form of exercise. This means the amount of calories you will burn during a stretching routine will usually be significantly less than you would with a high intensity full body workout.
That being said, there are certain things you can do to substantially increase the amount of calories you burn during your stretching routine. This can turn simple stretches into an effective weight loss tool.
So much so that Brian Klepacki, a fat loss and functional movement coach for Critical Bench, has based an entire program around stretching for weight loss. This program, which he calls metabolic stretching, helps you increase your flexibility while burning a lot of calories and building strength at the same time.
Klepacki’s program has helped his clients get noticeable results in as little as 14 days. We’ll take a closer look at the type of stretching exercises Klepacki uses to bring about these results in a bit.
Calories burned by stretching
As mentioned, an average stretching routine doesn’t burn a huge amount of calories. 30 minutes of stretching can burn between 70-113 calories, depending on your current weight. This pales in comparison with a 30 minute HIIT workout, which can burn up to 450 calories.
However, this is based on static stretching, where you hold a stretch for 15-30 seconds. If you want to use stretching to lose weight than you will burn a lot more calories doing certain types of dynamic stretches. This is what Brian Klepacki teaches in his metabolic stretching program.
According to coach Klepacki just 15 minutes of exercise can increase your metabolism. A daily 15 minute stretching routine is effective, simple and doesn’t leave you feeling too exhausted. This makes it relatively easy for people of all ages and fitness levels to incorporate into their lives.
How stretching helps with weight Loss
Burns calories:The most obvious way that stretching helps you lose weight is by increasing your calorie expenditure. To lose weight you need to burn more calories than you eat. Stretching, like any other form of movement, burns calories.
Relieves stress: You may wonder why this would help you lose weight. That’s because for many people stress is one of the main culprits that causes overeating.
Numerous studies have shown that prolonged stress increases craving for and the intake of foods high in fat, sugar, or both. Stretching helps relax you both mentally and physically. This in turn increases the likelihood of making healthier food choices and reduces the likelihood of overeating.
Helps prevent injuries: Making stretching a part of your exercise routine helps reduce the likelihood of injuries during your workouts. An injury can prevent you from working out at all. Sometimes for weeks or even months.
Other benefits of stretching for weight loss
Besides the calorie burning benefits daily stretching provides there are also other reasons why you might want to consider incorporating stretching into your daily routine:
Great for all ages and fitness levels: Stretching is generally a very gentle form of exercise that doesn’t place a lot stress on your joints. This makes it great for people of all ages and fitness levels.
Makes other workouts more effective:Stretching can also help you perform better and stronger during your other workouts. It can help increase blood flow to your muscles, warming them up before you begin exercising. This indirectly helps with weight loss by making your workouts more effective.
No equipment needed: A great thing about stretching exercise is that most of them require no extra equipment. All you need is a few square feet of clutter free space. This means you can do your daily stretching routine pretty much anywhere. And… the best workout is the one you actually do!
What are the best stretching workouts to lose weight?
As mentioned earlier, if you want to use stretching for weight loss then dynamic stretching is the way to go. This will not only increase your flexibility and mobility but also you stamina and strength… as well as burning a decent amount of calories.
When it comes to types of dynamic stretching workouts there are quite a few options to choose from.
Yoga is an obvious choice when it comes to increasing flexibility and mobility. There are many different yoga systems and some are better than others if you want to lose weight. Some great options are:
- Vinyasa, or “flow yoga”: This style of yoga moves from one asana to another quickly in order to burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time while still providing the stretching and relaxation associated with yoga.
- Power Yoga: This is one of the most popular forms of yoga for weight-loss. It focuses entirely on supercharged and active throughout the whole session and uses primarily standing poses to burn maximum calories.
- Bikram Yoga: Also known as “Hot Yoga” Bikram is one of the most intense forms of yoga. It is practiced in a room that’s heated to 105 degrees. This speeds up sweating, detoxifies your body and helps you burn calories faster.
Calisthenics is the name for bodyweight-focused movements that focus on strength and dynamic flexibility simultaneously. The movements range from relatively easy to extremely difficult and calisthenic workouts tend to burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time. Calisthenics uses natural movement patterns and gravity to build a foundation of strength and flexibility. This makes it an awesome form of training to build functional strength and mobility while burning fat at the same time.
Pilates is an exercise system that uses low-impact flexibility and muscular strength and endurance movements. It emphasizes proper postural alignment, core strength and muscle balance. While it was originally used by athletes to build core strength, it has become extremely popular as an effective and low-impact way to reduce body fat.
See also: Pilates Workouts For Beginners
Dynamic flexibility exercises
Dynamic flexibility exercises are slow, controlled movements that work to increase your reach and speed of movement while staying within your range of motion. One review published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine across 31 studies found a warm-up using dynamic flexibility exercises not only increased flexibility but also enhanced power and strength performance.
Okay, you may be wondering why kickboxing is listed under stretching workouts. That’s because, when it comes to creating dynamic movement to burn calories while also enhancing flexibility… little can beat kickboxing. Research shows that just five weeks of kickboxing training can bring significant improvements in flexibility, speed, agility and muscle power(1).
If you have a hard time choosing which method is best for you, Klepacki’s metabolic stretching program combines the best of all of them, making for ‘stretching for weight loss’ system that’s both effective and diverse.
The best fat burning stretch
Here is a sample stretch Klepacki teaches in his progam that he claims is one of the best stretches you can do for weight loss. The reason he calls it the best fat burning stretch is that it hits every part of your body in one go.
Below is the beginner version of the stretch. You can find the advanced version on Klepacki’s website
Other benefits of stretching besides weight loss
Increases flexibility: A daily stretching routine increases your flexibility. It also helps you maintain this flexibility as you grow older.
Helps you relax: Incorporating daily stretching into your lifestyle will help relax you both physically and mentally. Our fast paced modern lifestyle often brings with it a large amount of stress. 15-30 minutes of daily stretching helps relieve this mental and physical tension, making you calmer and more at peace.
Increases mobility: Stretching helps lengthen your muscles and increases your range of motion. This helps make many every day tasks easier and will serve you well in pretty much every area of your life. Stretching also helps you maintain this mobility as you age.
Helps improve posture: Many of us spend long hours hunched over in front of computer screens or lounging in couches. The result is that many peoples postures leave room for improvement. Stretching methods like Yoga, calisthenics and Pilates will also help improve your posture. Not only is this important for preventing cramps and chronic muscle tension… good posture can also make you look slimmer!
Is stretching a good workout for weight loss?
First of all… The best workout is the one you actually do!
Do you enjoy the gentle movements of stretching and are you able to a stretching workout into your daily routine? Well, that’s infinitely better than doing nothing. Apart from all the other physical and mental health benefits daily stretching provides you will definitely burn some calories.
Remember that any form of activity of movement will burn calories. The more you move, the more calories you will ultimately burn.
Are there more effective workouts to lose weight than stretching?
Generally, the higher the intensity of the workout the more calories it will burn. As mentioned before 30 minutes of stretching will burn about 70-113 calories whereas 30 minutes of High Intensity Interval Training can burn about 450 calories.
It’s pretty clear that HIIT is more effective if you’re looking to burn as many calories as possible in the shortest amount of time.
However, if you’ve been inactive for a long time and are looking for gentle way to ease into working out then daily stretching is a great place to start. Again, the best workout is the one you actually do. Doing a daily 30 minute stretching routine is going to bring you much better results than thinking about doing a 30 minute HIIT workout.
12 week intense workout programs can be a great way to get rid of excess body fat quickly. But, if you’re looking for sustainable weight loss a short daily stretching routine is probably a lot easier to integrate into your lifestyle.
So, if you want results as quickly as possible, HIIT or other high intensity workout programs may be the right choice for you. That being said, some of the stretching workouts mentioned earlier like calisthenics or kickboxing can burn as many calories as your typical HIIT workout.
Diet is key
Exercise is crucial to your overal health and well-being. However, if your goal is to lose weight the first thing you should look at is your diet. You simply can’t out-exercise a bad diet.
There are tons of diets to choose from. However, a few simple tweaks can go a long way! Click here for free tips and recipes that will boost your metabolism and help you burn fat without leaving you feeling hungry.
Also check out our ‘eating’ section where you will find loads of helpful articles on healthy eating for weight loss.
Conclusion – Stretching for weight loss
Stretching is a great form of exercise that can be done by people of all ages and fitness levels. Like any type of activity or exercise stretching burns calories.
If you want to use stretching for weight loss, dynamic forms of stretching like Yoga, Pilates or Calisthenics will be more effective than static stretching (where you hold one pose).
Besides weight loss stretching offers many other benefits to your health and well-being like: stress relief, improved posture and increased mobility/flexibility. This makes it a great form of exercise to incorporate into your lifestyle.
Want to know more about Brian Klepacki’s program? Check out our Metabolic Stretching review. It takes a deep-dive into the different workouts you’ll find in the program.