Does stretching count as exercise? 12 High Calorie burn Stretches

Stretching is one of the pillars of the daily workout routine and is an essential part of the exercise. But does stretching count as exercise? This article will discuss the role of stretching to maintain a healthy lifestyle and its role in a weight loss journey.

What is stretching?

Stretching is a physical activity that involves flexing and elongating a specific muscle group or joint to improve that muscle group’s elasticity and range of motion.

 Types of stretching

There are two major types of stretching depending on the types of activity and way of flexing the muscles.

1.    Static stretching

Static stretches, as the name suggest, do not involve movement. While doing these, you have to hold your body in the stretch position for a specific period to improve the extension level of a particular muscle group. In other words, there is a period of contraction and relaxation to activate the muscle group.

2.    Dynamic stretching

Dynamic stretching is characterized by movement such as swinging back and forth or bouncing motion. The aim is to promote blood circulation and activate a specific muscle group.

When is the best time to do stretching?

Although stretching can be beneficial at any time of the day to help you keep active and healthy, here are some of the best times to stretch. It will help you get the most out of the activity, especially when stretching as exercise.

1.     Before workout

Stretching before a workout can be a great way to improve the effectiveness of your training. That is why stretching is essential before a workout. Especially dynamic stretches can be a great way to warm up before exercise.

2.     After workout

The best time to do stretching if you aim to improve your range of motion is after completing your workout. After performing a workout, the muscles are warm and pliable, and if you do stretching as a cool-down, you can achieve a lot of flexibility in your muscles.

3.     Before going to bed

During sleep, your muscles and soft tissues heal more speedily. So if you stretch your muscles just before going to bed, your nervous system will remember that extended length of your strengths and heal them in that position.

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Can you lose weight by stretching?

According to common belief, you can only lose weight with an intense cardiovascular workout. While it is true, stretching as exercise can also help, especially if you are not overweight.

Stretching involves flexibility exercises that can boost blood circulation, metabolism and even help in building muscles. Regular stretching and flexibility exercises can burn fat and step into a more intense workout routine if you are starting a healthy lifestyle.

How is stretching different from other forms of exercise?

Stretching aims not to burn calories but to make your body more flexible and less tense. It may assist in losing weight but not as much as other high-intensity workouts such as running, jogging, resistance training, or high-intensity interval training.

It all depends on what type of stretching exercise you are performing. If you aim to lose weight, you can go for higher intensity stretching techniques such as Pilates. Stretching exercises for beginners or simply warmup exercise may not contribute much in this regard.

Stretching techniques to burn fat

If you want to perform stretching as exercise, here are some of the stretching techniques that may contribute to burning calories and ultimately to weight loss if performed regularly

1.    Seated twists

Seated twists target abs, obliques, and your back.

How to perform:

  • Stretch out one leg at the front while sitting down on the floor.
  • Bend the other leg and cross it over the extended led.
  • Now twists your body sideways in the direction of the bent leg and hold this position for 30 seconds.

2.    The cobra

The cobra targets many muscle groups, including the back, shoulders, hips, chest, abs, and obliques.

How to perform:

  • Lie down on your mat facing downwards and keep your feet together.
  • Now raise your torso by holding your hands on the ground and extending your arms upwards.
  • Lean your head back as much as you can and hold for 30 seconds.

3.    The warrior

The warrior targets the abs, back, and hips.

How to perform:

  • Stand straight on your mat with arms extended up in the air.
  • Bend one leg and extend the other one backwards, making a large gap and twist the back foot at an angle of 45 degrees.
  • Keep the back leg straight and the front leg with the knee right above the foot. Hold for 30 seconds.
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4.    The bridge

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

How to perform:

  • Lie down on the floor with arms straight on your sides and bend your legs at an angle of 90 degrees.
  • Lift your hips, keeping your shoulders pressed to the floor.
  • Hold this position for 15 seconds.

5.    Inner thigh stretch

Inner thigh stretch exercise targets the inner thigh and muscles of the groin.

How to perform:

  • Sit on your mat with your back straight and join the soles of your feet together.
  • Extend your knees on the sides and put pressure downwards on them with your forearms.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds.

6.    Side lunge

A side lunge targets the muscles of hips, quads, and hamstrings.

How to perform:

  • Stand on the floor with one leg bent at an angle of 90 degrees.
  • Extend the other leg on the side, keeping it straight and the foot facing forwards on the ground.
  • Lean your torso slightly forward, hold this pose for 30 seconds and switch sides.

7.    Knee squeeze

Knee squeeze targets your back, hips, and abs.

How to perform:

  • Lie down straight on your mat and bring your knees towards your chest.
  • Press them down with your arms as much as you can by keeping your back straight.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds.

8.    Triceps stretch

This exercise targets your shoulders, triceps, back, and abs.

How to perform:

  • Stand straight on the floor, keeping your feet apart and bend your elbows upwards.
  • Hold the right elbow with your left hand and vice versa.
  • Now twist your body sideways, keeping your back straight.
  • Hold this pose for 20 seconds and then switch sides.
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9.    Sitting side bend

Sitting side bend targets back, oblique’s, abs, and shoulders.

How to perform:

  • Sit on your mat cross-legged and extend your arm upwards.
  • Lean on one side by keeping your back straight until you feel a stretch.
  • Switch sides after 15 seconds.

10. The bow

The bow targets your abs, back, and hips.

How to perform:

  • Lie on your mat facing down and extend your arms upwards from your back.
  • Bend your legs upwards and hold your ankles with your hands.
  • Extend your shoulders towards the back as much as possible.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds.

11. Downward facing dog

This stretching exercise targets your hips, back, legs, shoulders, and arms.

How to perform:

  • Stand on your feet and put your hands flat on the ground at your front.
  • Straighten your arms and knees, keeping your body extended as much as possible.
  • Press your heels on the floor, raise your head towards your feet, and hold this position for 30 seconds.

12. The triangle

The triangle targets your legs, hips, shoulders, chest, and obliques.

How to perform:

  • Stand straight with your feet wide apart.
  • Keep one foot at the front while turning the other sideways.
  • Hold your arms parallel to the ground and bend down on one side, keeping your back straight.
  • Hold one arm towards the ground and the upper one towards the sky.
  • Keep looking up and hold this pose for 30 seconds.

The bottom line

There are many types of stretching you can practice any time of the day, before or after the workout. Whether you are a beginner or an expert athlete, you can enjoy stretching exercise benefits.

Stretching can benefit you in many aspects, including weight loss, better flexibility, range of motion to improve your ability to perform daily activities more efficiently. It also plays a role in preventing injuries and improving your posture.


1.     Should you stretch every day?

If you want to improve your workout, stretching may not be necessary to do every day. However, for weight loss or flexibility for a particular sport, you should make a proper stretching routine for better results.

2.     How many calories does stretching burn?

The number of calories that are burnt depends on your weight. A 150 pounds person will burn around 85 calories in 30 minutes of stretching.

3.     How long should you hold a stretch?

It depends from person to person, and you should typically do it until you feel your muscles reacting to the stretch and then a few seconds more. Over-stretching can be harmful and may cause injuries, so do not overdo it.

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