S - T - R - E - T - C - H - I - N - G

BENEFITS OF STRETCHING:

  • Regular stretching is a powerful part of any exercise

    program.
  • Stretching increases flexibility. Flexible muscles can

    improve your daily performance. Tasks such as lifting packages, bending to tie

    your shoes or hurrying to catch a bus become easier and less tiring.
  • Stretching improves range of motion of your joints. Good

    range of motion keeps you in better balance, which will help keep you mobile

    and less prone to injury from falls — especially as you age.
  • Stretching improves circulation.-increasing blood flow to

    your muscles. Improved circulation can speed recovery after muscle injuries.
  • Stretching promotes better posture. Frequent stretching

    keeps your muscles from getting tight, allowing you to maintain proper posture

    and minimize aches and pains.
  • Stretching can relieve stress. Stretching relaxes the tense

    muscles that often accompany stress.
  • Stretching may help prevent injury. Preparing your muscles

    and joints for activity can protect you from injury, especially if your muscles

    or joints are tight.

HOW TO STRETCH:

  • Target major muscle groups. When you're stretching, focus on

    your calves, thighs, hips, lower back, neck and shoulders. Also stretch muscles

    and joints that you routinely use at work or play.
  • Warm up first. Stretching muscles when they're cold

    increases your risk of injury, including pulled muscles. Warm up by walking

    while gently pumping your arms, or do a favorite exercise at low intensity for

    five minutes. Better yet, stretch after you exercise — when your muscles are

    warm and more receptive to stretching.
  • One caveat: If you plan to stretch only after your workout,

    increase the intensity of the activity more slowly than you would if you had

    stretched your muscles before exercising.
  • Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds. It takes time to

    lengthen tissues safely. Hold your stretches for at least 30 seconds — and up

    to 60 seconds for a really tight muscle or problem area. That can seem like a

    long time, so keep an eye on the clock or your watch. Then repeat the stretch

    on the other side. For most muscle groups, a single stretch is often enough if

    you hold it long enough.
  • Don't bounce. Bouncing as you stretch can cause small tears

    in the muscle. These tears leave scar tissue as the muscle heals, which

    tightens the muscle even further — making you less flexible and more prone to

    pain.
  • Focus on a pain-free stretch. Expect to feel tension while

    you're stretching. If it hurts, you've gone too far. Back off to the point

    where you don't feel any pain, then hold the stretch.
  • Relax and breathe freely. Don't hold your breath while

    you're stretching.
  • How often to stretch is up to you. As a general rule,

    stretch whenever you exercise. If you don't exercise regularly, you might want

    to stretch at least three times a week to maintain flexibility. If you have a

    problem area, such as tightness in the back of your leg, you might want to

    stretch every day or even twice a day.
Health & Fitness
Share
My Dad Got Cancer, and Then He Killed Himself, and I'm Still Picking Up the Pieces
A 13-year journey with no end in sight.​
Health & Fitness
Share
Is "Spring Fever" a Real Thing?
Or are we all just crazy? ​
Health & Fitness
Share
How Being a Plus-Size Nude Model Made Me Finally Love My Body
Stomach rolls and all.​
Health & Fitness
Share
I Tried an Instagram Fitness Challenge and My Body Changed Like Crazy
But it wasn't easy.
Health & Fitness
Share
The Old Hollywood Way to Work Out
Glamour was non-negotiable—but also way more carefree.
Health & Fitness
Share
Can a Smart Mattress Cover Help You Sleep Better?
I mean, it heats your bed, so that's a definite start.​
Birth control
Health & Fitness
Share
California Women Can Now Get Birth Control Without a Prescription
​Excellent news out of the Golden state!​
Woman running on a treadmill
Health & Fitness
Share
Here's How Gross Your Gym Equipment Really Is
Skipping the gym tonight and feeling so justified.
Health & Fitness
Share
The Truth About My Secret Heroin Addiction
​​A long road of new low after new low.​
Health & Fitness
Share
Here's the Summer Workout Playlist of Your Dreams
​To actually get you *excited* about hitting the gym. ​🙋​