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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Thibeault, PT

The Principles of Stretching

Stretching elongates the muscles of the body, resulting in increased muscle control, flexibility, and range of motion. Stretching has many benefits, including increased flexibility and range of motion at the joints, prevention or reduction in pain, improved posture, and it can also be a technique to relieve stress. Stretching is an instinctive activity that most people do after waking up from sleeping or long periods of being inactive.

To stretch properly, you want to make sure you have enough room to move freely.

You should stretch every major muscle in the body including, arms, chest, back, and legs, holding stretches for at least 30-60 seconds. Make sure that you do not over stretch the muscles by straining. You should feel a pull in the muscles, but it should never be painful.

Make sure to maintain your breathing during each stretch; do not hold your breath. If possible, push yourself into a slightly deeper stretch with each exhale, but remember you should not feel pain during the stretch. Do not bounce or rush your stretches, they should be slow and in controlled movements. Focus on your posture and alignment during the stretch to be most effective.

A stretching program may be done every day. You can stretch before your workout or activity, but it is especially important to stretch after. You can stretch throughout the day, it does not need to be done all at once. Spend extra time on muscles that tend to be tight on you or ones that you use repetitively. Anyone can incorporate a stretching program into their daily routine. It can be safe and beneficial for everyone, whether you are just beginning or have been exercising for years.

Come in for a visit with us at Diversified Physical Therapy to learn a stretching program that is especially for you. We can put together a safe and effective exercise program to fit your needs.

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