When done properly, stretching can increase flexibility, reduce injuries, improve joint lubrication, reduce stress and tension, and enhance overall physical fitness. Below are the basic "nuts & bolts" of a safe and effective stretching program.
- Warm Up - It is not a good idea to jump out of bed in the morning and start stretching. To prevent injury you need to warm up the connective tissue in your muscles and joints first. We like to recommend five minutes of gentle cardiovascular exercise such as stationary bike, couple flights of stairs, or even a brisk walk with the dog.
- Target your tight spots - Figure out your three tightest body parts, and concentrate on those areas. For most people it's their neck, shoulders and low back.
- Hold the stretch - Current research suggests holding your stretch between 30 and 60 seconds gives you the biggest bang for your buck.
- Breathing - Proper breathing helps relax your muscles, increases blood flow and removes waste products from your muscles. Take slow, relaxed breaths, increasing the intensity of the stretch with each exhale.
- Perform daily - At our clinic, we find for stretching to be effective you should do them every day. The secret to doing stretches every day is to keep your routine under four minutes.
Hope this helps ! Dr Smith - Chiropractor