- First thing in the morning—wake up your muscles
- After sitting or standing—relieve muscle tension and work out the kinks
- Before exercise—reduce the risk of joint and muscle injury
- After exercise—prevent muscle shortening and tightening; improve flexibility
- During or after driving—improve your alertness
- When you feel tense or stiff—relax your mind, reduce your stress level, and
promote circulation throughout the body
Remember these guidelines when stretching—focus on slow, smooth movements; remember to breathe; hold a stretch for 8 to 10 seconds; move only as far as you can without experiencing discomfort (stop if you feel pain). Bouncing to stretch farther can cause injury; remember that frequent stretching is more important than trying to stretch so far that it hurts.