How to Stretch
Whatever your philosophy is on when to stretch, it’s best if you warm up first. When you engage your muscles in a stretch when they’re cold, you can risk pulling a muscle.
Start by walking around while gently pumping your arms. Do a few low-intensity exercises before your stretch routine.
When you do stretch, make sure you hold for at least 30 seconds. Make sure that you breathe evenly and deeply. Push down on a stretch on an exhale, if you’re able. Make sure that you don’t bounce your stretches, because you can cause microtears in your muscle, which decrease flexibility and make workouts and workout recoveries more painful.
Stretch light before a workout. Focus more on the warmup, stretch a bit, then get after it. After the workout, engage in a cool down, then a more thorough stretch, which is the perfect way to end your workout.
Take the Time to Stretch
Sure, the last thing you probably want to do is take 20-30 minutes right after working out to get a good stretch it, but it’s well worth it. Your body will thank you and you’ll start to notice new health benefits and new vitality.
Mike Volitich continues to remain committed to providing insider physical therapy knowledge, as well as the lowdown on UCLA sports and all things outdoors, among his many other enthusiastic pursuits. His efforts and website aim to help people stay active, and, above all, stay safe and injury-free.