“Controversial” activity slashes mortality risk 20 percent?

You know how much I love to exercise.

Not only does it make me feel good, but it helps boost my health.

That’s why I’m always encouraging you to get up and move, too—because every little bit helps!

But today, let’s hone in on a part of exercise that often gets overlooked.

Because new research found this “controversial” activity could SLASH mortality risk by an impressive 20 percent!

Stretch it out

I’m talking about stretching.

In the exercise world, this is quite a controversial topic. Some say stretching is absolutely necessary, whereas others think it can hinder performance.

Well, a study from 2020 explored the link between exercise and mortality. And surprisingly, researchers found that stretching was uniquely associated with a lower all-cause mortality risk among American adults.

Of course, this finding was pretty much ignored. (Maybe it simply trickled in at the wrong time. It was published around the beginning of the pandemic.) But now, a 2023 study found the same thing…

This time, researchers discovered that participants who performed flexibility exercises (stretching) at least five times a week slashed their risk of dying by 20 percent, compared to those who didn’t stretch at all.

Not to mention, this benefit was slightly better than the mortality protection from high volumes of aerobic exercise and resistance training. (Wow—that’s pretty stunning to me!)

And the most exciting thing of all is that pretty much anyone, at any age, can learn how to stretch.

In turn, they might just boost their longevity…

“Strong” benefits for older, sedentary adults

Let me first clarify that by stretching, we’re talking about static stretching.

That is, getting into and holding a position that challenges a muscle. The goal is to improve range of motion around a joint.

This simple activity can even boost your strength as you age. That’s because you’re applying tension to muscles and connective tissues, just as you do when you lift weights.

(Behind the scenes, tension activates proteins called integrins, which is the start of a cascade that leads to protein synthesis and, eventually, stronger muscles.)

Now, the reason I bring this up is because research shows that older, more sedentary folks are the most likely to benefit from these strength-boosting gains of stretching.

Of course, I’ve talked to you about strength training before. And how it can help combat sarcopenia, or the age-related progressive muscle loss that leaves you weak and frail.

But I’ve mainly focused on things like body-weight exercises and resistance bands.

Well, I’m happy to add static stretching to the list of activities you can perform.

If you’re not familiar with how to properly stretch, you can find plenty of introductory videos on YouTube. Simply watch and follow along from the comfort of your own home. You might also consider connecting with a physical therapist who can help guide you.

For additional benefits of this type of stretching, be sure to tune back in tomorrow.


“Is Stretching Now Underrated? Accumulating Research Says Yes.” Medscape, 02/27/24. (medscape.com/viewarticle/stretching-now-underrated-accumulating-research-says-yes-2024a10003s2)