Stretching is a great way to improve your flexibility and avoid muscle soreness after a workout. Using these tips can ensure you’re stretching safely and protecting your muscles and joints at the same time.
- Warm up first. Muscles stretch more easily when they’re warm. To warm up, you can walk in place for give minutes or even dance to a few songs. Moist heat packs or a warm shower are other great ways to warm up quickly.
- Avoid pain. Stretch only to the point of mild tension, never to the point of pain. If a stretch hurts, stop immediately! Check the instructions and start from the beginning.
- Pay attention to posture and good form. Posture counts whether you’re sitting, standing, or moving. Good form while stretching can translate to good form while you’re lifting weights, which means you have a lesser chance of injury.
- Focus on the muscle being stretched. You’ll notice that one side of your body often is tighter than the other. Work on balancing this over time.
- Breathe. For most stretches, you can just breathe normally. Sometimes, though, it is better to use yoga breathing or practice meditation while stretching to pass the time.
- Practice often. You’ll make the most progress through daily stretching. At the very least, your goal should be to stretch at least two to three times per week.
Source: Harvard Health