Here are some tips for how to do it properly.
- Stretch for 10 minutes every day.Regular stretching improves your balance, strength and flexibility, hold each stretch for 30 seconds to maximise lasting effects. Gentle stretching can improve your circulation and a steady blood flow helps reduce muscle tension and soreness.
- Get advice to avoid injury. Check with Soft Tissue Therapist 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 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, increase the stretch then hold it again. If it hurts, you’re pushing too hard.
- Breathe normally when stretching. Don’t try to hold your breath or perform special breathing exercises.
- Balance your routine. Work opposing muscle groups each time you stretch. If you start by stretching the muscles in the back of your thigh, then follow by stretching the muscles at the front.
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.
Pilates and Yoga are great classed to improve your core strength and overall flexibilty giving you more movement and mobility now and later in life.