David Goggins: Stretching Routine Has Health Benefits

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Can't Hurt Me" by David Goggins. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What is David Goggins’ stretching routine? Why did he adopt stretching as a part of his regular exercise regimen?

David Goggins’ stretching routine is a part of his health routine. As he got older, Goggins realized the constant training was taking a toll on his body and adopted stretching.

Read more about David Goggins’ stretching routine and how it helps with health.

David Goggins’ Stretching Routine

By age 38, Goggins had accomplished some impressive physical feats, but he started suffering health issues. He worked to find a solution, and later, retired from the Navy and pursued a new career.

Feeling Close to Death

Goggins faced many health issues in the pursuit of new challenges—running on broken legs, a knee injury—yet he always kept pushing himself. Eventually, he couldn’t keep pushing through his pain. 

He felt fatigued all the time, no matter what exercise he tried. Doctors ran tests but discovered nothing except slightly suboptimal thyroid levels, which is common for elite athletes. They prescribed him medications that hardly improved his condition.

He wondered if he was close to death, having pushed himself past the point of no return. Yet he didn’t feel regretful; he felt content. All those years, he pushed himself to greatness so that he wouldn’t be defined by his negative past experiences. For the first time in recent memory, he recognized that his accomplishments took extreme hard work, which he was proud of, and he didn’t care if he ran again, lived, or died.

David Goggins: Stretching Routine

In addition to reflecting on his mental health, Goggins realized he’d been missing out on a crucial aspect of physical health: stretching. He’d heard a presentation about the importance of balancing strength training with flexibility, but he’d ignored the advice, thinking flexibility would somehow undermine his quest for strength. On his deathbed, with no other options, he decided to try it.

He learned that his muscles were so tight that it was limiting his blood flow and his body was shutting down. He started stretching hours every day, including during work, and his energy and health improved. Luckily, David Goggins’ stretching routine helped him have a healthier lifestyle.

New Career, New Challenges

Goggins retired from the Navy in 2015 and started a new career as a wildlands firefighter. He enjoys the physical challenge and being part of a team that enjoys it, too. He’s also continuing distance running and pushing himself to new lengths, though the rage he used to channel for motivation is harder to locate these days.

David Goggins: Stretching Routine Has Health Benefits

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  • What a Navy SEAL says about pushing yourself to achieve greatness
  • How to put in more effort to realize your potential
  • The 10 challenges you can take on to reach your goals

Carrie Cabral

Carrie has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember, and has always been open to reading anything put in front of her. She wrote her first short story at the age of six, about a lost dog who meets animal friends on his journey home. Surprisingly, it was never picked up by any major publishers, but did spark her passion for books. Carrie worked in book publishing for several years before getting an MFA in Creative Writing. She especially loves literary fiction, historical fiction, and social, cultural, and historical nonfiction that gets into the weeds of daily life.

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