Flexibility helps prevent injuries and improve simple motions of everyday life. Being flexible allows for better movement and reduced pain in joints making it easier to perform daily activities. It is important to warm your muscles before stretching. Also, remember to stretch after the cool-down portion of each workout.
- Do not bounce into a stretch or during a stretch. Movements should be slow and steady.
- Mild discomfort while stretching is normal but you should never feel pain. If you do, it means you are stretching too far and you need to reduce the stretch so it does not hurt.
- Always breathe through the stretch, never hold your breath.
- Avoid locking your joints in place during stretches.
- Hold each stretch for 15–30 seconds. Repeat each stretch 2– 4 times, trying to extend farther each time.
Here are two stretches to get you started…
Hamstring Stretch – Hold on to the back of a chair or countertop and bend forward at the hips, keeping your back and shoulders straight and your knees together. You should feel a stretch in the back of your thighs.
Triceps Stretch – Lift your arm straight up in the air and bend at the elbow. Gently press the elbow back with the opposite hand. Lift your head and look straight ahead. You should feel a stretch in the back part of the upper arm. Repeat with the other arm.