FLEXIBILITY EXERCISES

Stretches

Stretches

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Always stretch both before and after your workout. Always do a 5 minute warm up, such as, walking or biking before you start stretching. It’s easier to stretch warm muscles and it decreases the risk of injury.
Stretch slowly and breathe while stretching to be able to further your stretch just slightly to increase your flexibility. Don’t overstretch, to avoid injury. Stretch only to the point of slight discomfort and not to the point of shaking.
You may hurt yourself if you stretch cold muscles. So before stretching, warm up with light walking, or biking at low intensity for five to 10 minutes.
• Don’t bounce. Stretch in a smooth movement, without bouncing. Bouncing as you stretch can cause injury to your muscle.
• Hold your stretch. Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds; in problem areas, you may need to hold for around 60 seconds. Breathe normally as you stretch.
• Don’t aim for pain. Expect to feel tension while you’re stretching, not pain. If it hurts, you’ve pushed too far. Back off to the point where you don’t feel any pain, then hold the stretch.
If you don’t stretch regularly, you risk losing any benefits that stretching offered. For instance, if stretching helped you increase your range of motion, and you stop stretching, your range of motion will decrease again.
• Bring movement into your stretching. Gentle movement can help you be more flexible in specific movements. The gentle movements of tai chi or yoga, for instance, may be a good way to stretch.