Fitness \ Motion Zone

The Right Way to Stretch Your Muscles

Most people think that stretching before an activity helps prevent injuries and reduce soreness. However, studies done on stretching haven't really proven any benefit. In fact, some have shown that stretching may impair athletic performance.

But while the jury's still out on stretching before exercise, there is evidence that stretching regularly done apart from other exercise may be beneficial.

So here are some tips on how to stretch.

Never bounce when stretching. Your movements should be gentle, slow and controlled. Be fair to all muscles too.

Always stretch opposing muscle groups, such as biceps and triceps, or quads and hamstrings. Stretching just one group may cause an imbalance that can actually decrease flexibility.

As far as timing, ease into the stretch and hold it for 15-30 seconds. And don't hold your breath. Breathe slowly and deeply to release any tension and never, ever stretch to the point of pain.

Many experts say that time spent stretching before exercise would be better spent warming up in other ways. That means doing an activity for five to 10 minutes at a lower intensity—walking at a slower pace, for example.

Taking the time to warm up and keeping your muscles loose will help you to a safer, more effective workout.


This entry last modified on: January 25, 2013 3:17 PM

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About the Video

Doing stretching exercises on a regular basis can benefit your health. Here's how to keep your muscles loose and improve your workouts.

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