My top 10 tips on how to stretch to improve flexibility
Stretching is a good way to improve flexibility and avoid muscle soreness.
Here are some tips on how to stretch properly:
- Stretch for 10 minutes every day. Regular stretching improves your balance, strength and flexibility.
- Get advice to avoid injury. Check with your doctor or health professional before stretching if you have an injury, are unsure of how to stretch properly or have had a previous injury.
- Warm up your muscles before stretching. Try 10 minutes of gentle exercise like walking. Stretching cold muscles may result in injury.
- Hold a sustained stretch for 10 to 30 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, breathe in and increase the stretch a little bit. Then, hold it again. If it hurts, this means that you’re pushing too hard.
- Breathe normally when stretching. Don’t try to hold your breath or perform special breathing exercises. Just breathe normally and stretch a little bit deeper as you inhale.
- Balance your routine. Try to work opposing muscle groups each time you stretch. You main not know, but every muscle in our body has an opposing one. That one performs the opposite movement. For example,
- biceps and triceps;
- quadriceps and hamstrings;
- abdominals and back. While one muscle group is contracting, the opposing muscle is lengthening. If you start by stretching the muscles in the back of your thigh, then follow by stretching the muscles at the front.
- Prevent boredom. Add variety to your routine by increasing your stretching repertoire. For example, you could join a yoga class or visit your local physiotherapist for new stretches.
- Include stretching in your daily routine. Gentle stretching can improve your circulation and steady blood flow helps reduce muscle tension and soreness. Try this stretching routine every time you exercise.
- Make stretching part of your other warm-up and cool-down activities. It will help put you in the right frame of mind before exercise and help you relax afterwards.
If you feel you overstretched, or that stretching just isn’t enough to provide you with effective relief from muscular aches and pains, our experienced sports massage therapists are available to you at Keheren in Truro, Kingston and Richmond.