Should you be stretching?

Should you be stretching?

Muscles shorten during exercise, from bad posture, with ageing and not being used. The goal of stretching is to increase muscle length, flexibility and blood flow - whether you’ve been sitting at a desk all day or are training for a sports event.

May 13, 2021
Woman stretchin on park bench

You may think of stretching as something that only athletes do, but gentle stretching is beneficial for everyone.    

4 things to remember when stretching

  1. Don't stretch cold muscles. Before stretching, warm up (for example with light walking, skipping or jogging) for 5-10 minutes.
  1. No bouncing during stretching. This can cause injury to your muscles.  
  1. Don’t overstretch. You should feel tension while you're stretching, but not pain. If it hurts, you've pushed too far.  
  1. To benefit from stretching, do it at least 2-3 times a week.  

Benefits include:

  • Improved mobility – so you have a range of motions such as walking, bending and twisting, all necessary for everyday activities.  
  • More flexibility - needed to keep your joints and tissues healthy, whether you are a serious athlete or someone whose exercise routine is more limited.  
  • Reduced stress - because your muscles will be less tense. Areas of your body where you tend to hold stress are your neck, shoulders, and upper back.  
  • Better posture – a slouched posture from sitting at a desk or in the car can tighten and put stress on muscles and joints, as well as causing back or neck pain.  

Whether you want to be able to bend down to tie your shoelaces, win a game of tennis or just feel less stiff and achy after a long day at the office, see your local physiotherapist. They will be able to advise which stretches will be best for you to receive the maximum benefit.  

If you intend to take any action or inaction based on this information, it is recommended that you obtain your own professional advice based on your specific circumstances.

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