|Stretch and Get Flexible !
These exercises are simple enough to do anywhere, anytime. They will keep you limber and alleviate some minor aches and pains associated with long periods of desk work.
If you have been inactive for a while (I don’t mean the normal day-to-day activities associated with errands on the weekend) and you begin adding some flexibility exercises, I think you’ll be amazed at how you’ll progress within a month. Give it a try.
Myth: Stretching is associated with warm-up.
Fact: You need to warm-up before you begin stretching to avoid damaging your muscles.
Pick a few exercises to do each week. 2-3 months into your routine pick new exercises. Mixing it up not only keeps it a little more interesting but helps you progress as your body becomes more efficient at performing each exercise. Changing exercises will keep you from hitting a ‘plateau’ – which is where you feel that you are making minor gains for your efforts. Remember, the key is staying motivated enough to make this a part of your lifestyle.
On This Page:
- How to Improve
- How Much, How Often
- Modify As You Progress
- Safety Tips
- Informative Books and Helpful Equipment For You
How to Improve Your Flexibility
Stretching, or flexibility, exercises are an important part of your physical activity program. They give you more freedom of movement for your physical and everyday activities.
Stretching exercises can improve your flexibility but will not improve your endurance or strength so be sure you fit all four (4) types of exercises into your week.
How Much, How Often
Slowly stretch into the desired position, as far as possible without pain, and hold the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds. Relax, breathe, then repeat, tying to stretch farther.
Do each exercise 3 to 5 times at each session.
Challenge yourself as you progress. For example, as you become more flexible, try reaching farther, but not so far that it hurts. Keep track of your flexibility exercises.
Modify as You Progress
Over time your body will become more efficient at performing an exercise. Because of this, you’ll want to choose new exercises to increase your benefits.
- Talk with your doctor if you are unsure about a particular exercise. For example, if you’ve had hip or back surgery, talk with your doctor before doing lower-body exercises.
- Always warm up before doing stretch exercises.
- Stretch after endurance or strength exercises.
- If you only doing stretching exercises, warm up with a few minutes of easy walking first. Stretching your muscles before they are warmed up may result in injury.
- Breathe normally while holding a stretch.
- Stretching may feel slightly uncomfortable as you might feel a mild pull – that is perfectly normal. If you feel a sharp or stabbing pain or joint pain you are stretching too far. If you feel pain while stretching or the next day, reduce the stretch so that it doesn’t hurt.
- Never “bounce” into a stretch. Make slow, steady movements. Jerking into position can cause muscles to tighten and can cause injury.
- Avoid “locking” your joints. Straighten your arms and legs when you stretch them, but don’t hold them tightly into a straight position. Your joints should always be slightly bent while stretching.