Stretching: Spend time on flexibility.

You could be reaching into your car's back seat for a bag. Or reaching for something on the highest shelf...

You suddenly experience a searing ache in your arm, shoulder, or back. And it's not going away.

You've strained or pulled a muscle. Why? Because you were not adaptable enough. But don't worry...

Stretching: Spend time on flexibility.

If you have painful muscles, achy joints, or simply can't bend like you used to, you owe it to yourself to learn more about stretching. Stretching, yes.

The Advantages of Stretching

Stretching studies have yielded conflicting results. According to several studies, stretching does not reduce muscular discomfort after exercise. Other research suggests that stretching the muscle and retaining the stretch soon before a sprint may reduce performance marginally.

However, studies have shown that stretching can:

  • Improve flexibility and, as a result, joint range of motion.
  • Better flexibility may improve your physical performance.
  • Reduce your chance of injury.
  • Assist your joints in moving through their entire range of motion.
  • Increase the flow of blood to the muscles.
  • Allow your muscles to work as efficiently as possible.
  • Improve your capacity to perform daily tasks.

Essentials for stretching

Before you begin stretching, make certain that you do so securely and properly. While you can stretch whenever and wherever you choose, appropriate technique is essential. Incorrect stretching might cause more harm than good.


To make stretching safe, follow these guidelines:

  • Stretching should not be considered a warmup. If you strain your cold muscles, you may injure yourself. Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes before stretching with light walking, jogging, or biking at a low intensity. Stretch after your workout, when your muscles are heated. Consider skipping stretching before a strenuous exercise like running or track and field. According to certain studies, pre-event stretching may actually reduce performance. Stretching right before an event has also been demonstrated in studies to reduce hamstring strength.
  • Aim for symmetry. Everyone's genetics for flexibility differ slightly. Rather than aiming for the flexibility of a dancer or gymnast, aim for equal flexibility on both sides (particularly if you have a history of injury). Injuries can occur when flexibility is not equal on both sides.
  • Concentrate on key muscular groups. Stretch the major muscle groups, such as your calves, thighs, hips, lower back, neck, and shoulders. Make certain to stretch both sides. Stretch the muscles and joints that you utilize on a regular basis or in your sport.
  • Don't jump. Stretch in a smooth, non-bouncing motion. Bouncing when stretching might harm your muscles and contribute to muscle tension.
  • Maintain your stretch. Breathe normally and hold each stretch for approximately 30 seconds; in troubled regions, hold for around 60 seconds.
  • Don't go for the hurt. Expect to feel tension rather than pain while stretching. You've pushed too far if it hurts. Back off until you don't feel any pain, then hold the stretch.
  • Make stretches specific to your sport. Stretching the muscles used the most in your sport or activity may be beneficial, according to some research. Stretch your hamstrings if you play soccer, as you are more prone to hamstring strains.
  • Maintain your stretching routine. Stretching can take some time. However, stretching frequently, at least twice a week, will provide the biggest benefits. Stretching for 5 to 10 minutes at a time can be beneficial. If you skip regular stretching, you risk losing the potential advantages. For example, if stretching helped you enhance your range of motion, stopping it may cause your range of motion to decrease again.
  • Incorporate movement into your stretching. Gentle motions like tai chi, Pilates, or yoga can help you be more flexible in certain movements. These types of workouts can also help elderly people avoid falling. You might also attempt a "dynamic warmup." A dynamic warmup involves doing motions at a low level that are similar to those in your chosen sport or physical activity. Then, as you warm up, you steadily increase your speed and intensity.


Know when to be cautious

If you have a persistent ailment or injury, your stretching practices may need to be modified. Stretching, for example, may be harmful if you already have a strained muscle. If you have any health issues, see your doctor or physical therapist about the best technique to stretch.

Also, remember that stretching does not eliminate the possibility of injury. Stretching, for example, will not keep an overuse injury at bay.