Stretching is an important part of warming up before physical activity and cooling down afterwards. Stretching helps to prepare the body mentally and physically. Additionally, regular stretching routines will help to improve individual flexibility and prevent injury.
Here are some tips for safe stretching.
Try to do stretches once per day. Regular stretching improves your balance, strength and flexibility. Gentle stretching can improve your circulation and a steady blood flow helps reduce muscle tension and soreness.
Get advice to avoid injury. Check with your chiropractor before stretching if you have an injury or are unsure of the correct technique or are recovering from injury.
Warm up your muscles before stretching. Try 10 minutes of gentle exercise like brisk walking. Stretching cold muscles may result in injury.
Hold a sustained stretch for 10 to 20 seconds. Don’t bounce when stretching. Overstretching causes muscle to contract and can cause small tears in fibres.
Only stretch to the point of mild discomfort. Once your muscle feels comfortable, increase the stretch then hold it again. If it hurts, you’re pushing too hard.
Breathe normally when stretching
Keep it balanced. Work opposing muscle groups each time you stretch. If you start by stretching the muscles at the front of your hip, then follow by stretching the muscles at the back.
Keep it interesting. Add variety to your routine by increasing your stretching repertoire. For example, you could join a yoga class or ask your chiropractor for new stretches.
Make stretching part of your other warm-up and cool-down activities. It can help your mental preparation before exercise and help you relax afterwards.