So, you have finished your 20 minutes on the treadmill and some circuit training and you’re ready to head to work, but are you done for the day? Many people seem to think they are, yet few realize the importance stretching can play in their health. Stretching is known to increase flexibility, range of motion in joints, circulation, improve posture, relieve stress and prevent injuries. With all these benefits, it’s important to include stretching as part of your daily exercise. Here are some stretching basics to get you started.
- 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 regularly use at work or play.
- Warm up first: Stretching muscles when they’re cold increases your risk of injury. Warm up by walking or doing a favorite activity at low intensity for five minutes. Better yet, stretch after you exercise.
- Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds: Stretch muscles safely by holding your stretches for 30 – 60 seconds. Then repeat the stretch on the other side.
- Don’t bounce: Bouncing as you stretch can cause small tears in the muscle.
- 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.
- Exercise caution: If you have a chronic condition or an injury, speak with your doctor or a physical therapist before you start a stretching routine.
Moose FM, the City of Fort St. John and the Fort St. John Co-op, present the Live It Active Challenge. This article is a part of this challenge to see Fort St. John and area residents get out and be active in 2016. Learn more about this program and how you can participate at energeticcity-beta.mystagingwebsite.com/liveit