Stretching and flexibility activities are a great addition to an active lifestyle. They improve circulation and range of motion, decrease joint stiffness and muscle tension, enhance performance, and can lead to better posture. Try to stretch 2-3 days per week for at least 10 minutes each day and involve all of the major muscle tendon groups. Major muscle tendon groups include: neck, shoulders, upper and lower back, pelvis, hips, and legs.
Here are some tips for stretching:
- Do slow, circular movements both clockwise and counterclockwise (e.g., Wrist circles, arm circles, hip circles, head rolls, shoulder rolls, etc.)
- Add some stretches where you hold the pose for 30-45 seconds (ex: toe touches, hamstring stretch, arm overhead stretch, calf stretch, etc.)
- Don’t wiggle around or bounce your muscles while you’re stretching. This interferes with the stretch and can lead to injury.
- Gradually increase range of motion and reach each time.
- Breath while you stretch! Breathing increases blood flow and the amount of oxygen delivered to the muscles.