Why does it feel good when we stretch our muscles?

22 April 2007

Question

Why does it feel good when we stretch our muscles?

Answer

(The jury is still out on this one, feel free to get in touch if you have an answer)Conrad, Canada: It's relativism (thought not in the Einstein sense, in the relative way that if you're hitting yourself on the head with a hammer, it feels good when you stop). Muscles get sore from micro-tears and trauma induced by exertion, I', guessing that stretching, when sore, probably has a temporary de-sensitising effect on the sore muscles which provides, for a few moments at least, a respite from the ache. Stretching or massaging is probably similar to when a nurse pinches you before administering an injection, which over-stimulates the nerve receptors in the muscles and temporarily numbs the area from registering further pain.

Evgeniy, Japan: Relaxed muscles need soft and at the same time strenuous exertion. This operation prepares them for a normal daily job, recovers the normal "working" circulation of the blood and switches from sleeping regime to an active one. These muscles are always connected by neurones to the central nervous system (CNS), which can stimulate centres of pleasure in the brain. Using a simple policy of bribery, the CNS teaches us to perform these actions by giving us a treat whenever we stretch. Stretching is good for your muscles, so the brain encourages you to do it by making it pleasurable.

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