Why do we stretch?

No the exercise-type stretch, which Google turned up when trying to answer this - but the get-out-of-bed stretch. I just watched my neighbour’s dog waking up, and going through an elaborate stretch routine which seemed the eqivalent of any of us sticking our arms up and goin “oooooo—eerrrrrrawwWWWwwww” (or something like that). What does it achieve?

I have noticed that I dont do the get out of bed stretch anymore. When I was a kid I’m sure I always did it.

Stretching when getting out of bed limbers everything up for the day.
It’s the same reason athletes stretch, avoid undue stress and strain on the old framework and connective tissues and muscles.

Actually, stretching tightens muscles, and every time you do that, you squeeze the capillaries that run through them. (If you’re old enough, you remember the Bell film - Hemo the Magnificent - in which this was explained). When you squeeze these blood vessels, you drive blood through them. It’s basically a way to get the blood flowing faster and more thoroughly and more efficiently through the body. In the absence of this aid to the circulatory system, the blood would tend to pool or sag in the lower extremeties. If you notice, you feel a lot more alert after stretching. xo C.