On a physiological level, why is it important to breath while stretching?

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How does breathing impact musculature?

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I was told by my sensei that your muscles relax when you exhale as a reflex allowing you to stretch a little farther, safely. This makes some sense as exhaling slowly stimulates the vagus nerve which relaxes you in general.

Your main factor in flexibility is your central nervous system (your brain). It tries to protect you from injuries by tensing muscles around a joint as soon as they signal their end of safe range of motion.

However, to increase that range of motion you have to relax said muscles and that works best by relaxing and easing into the stretch.

Controlling your breath is the best way to calm down and relax. Your rhythm of breathing stimulates your autonomous nervous system and signals your level of arousal to your brain.

It’s a combination of things:

I think the cue to breath while stretching is for the same reasons to breath while exercising

It prevents you from passing out

the breathing cue also means to control your breath and breath slowly, which is another relaxation technique, highly valuable thing while stretching

The main point of breathing is to get CO2 out of your body.. bringing oxygen in is secondary to that.. when suffocating to death, the build-up of co2 will kill you long before the lack of oxygen does. That’s becasue co2 is acidic in water and thus makes the blood more acidic.. if it gets too acidic, proteins in your body unfold and refold into different shapes and your body won’t be able to recognize it anymore. Breathing helps keep the muscles nourished

That being said, it’s much easier to increase a stretch when breathing out.. I think this is because our midsection is smaller when our lungs have less air in them.. creating less of a physical obstruction.