Simple Tips for Stretching Success

by Janet Luhrs
Simple Tips for Stretching Success

By Janet Luhrs,

We know how it is – you have your morning routine, your gear is all set out and ready to go, your workout plan is in mind.  But whoops! Sometimes your eagerness to get going causes you to skip or minimize the stretching part of your workout.

Sure – stretching seems so boring, doesn’t it? But in order to really stay in shape and avoid injury, you have to do it.

I find that the best way for me to be sure to stretch is by keeping my stretch routine verrrry simple. So simple that in time, my body can do the routine without me having to think about it. In other words, so simple that it becomes as routine as brushing my teeth.

Here are a few simple tips for stretching successfully:

  • Warm up with a light jog in place or outside,  jumping jacks, jumping rope, or even a short bike ride or walk.
  • As  you work out, stop whenever your muscles get right and do a short stretch.  Stretching doesn’t have to just happen before or after a workout.
  • Breathe during stretching. It sounds obvious, but many people unknowingly hold their breath during stretching. In fact, breathing deeply and slowly during stretching actually helps you to stretch more deeply.
  • Never bounce, or push hard and fast into a stretch. Be gentle.
  • Don’t hold deep stretches longer than about 15 seconds, as this can lead to oxygen deprivation to the muscles.
  • Stretch out your spine in between compressive sets of weight lifting or impact sports such as running. Athletes can sometimes lose 20-40 millimeters of height after a workout. Hanging from a chin up bar can relieve that stress on your spine.
  • Save your static stretching for the end of your workout once your muscles are already warmed up. They will help you to avoid much of the following day’s soreness.

This wiki has a great list of basic stretches for your whole body with really helpful photos to show exactly how the stretches are done. Choose the stretches that seem easy to you – not too many – because your goal is to do them regularly and from memory.

Featured photo source:

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