Stretching – When & How

Sitting in front of a desk 5 – 6 days a week, running after the kids and daily home chores, light and heavy physical labor – all in their own way can wreak havoc on your body.
This is even more especially so because the majority of us do not have and are not particularly careful or knowledgeable about our posture.
Taking time to do some basic stretches to suit your particular needs will not only help increase your flexibility, they will also reduce tension and stress whilst allowing you to do your tasks more efficiently, with more safety against injury and discomfort.

  • Why be restricted to even the most simple movements and tasks because you have lost your flexibility – for whatever reason?

    An easy-to-do non-invasive stretching routine can change your life for the better – no matter what your age

  • Do the same stretches apply to all age-groups and sports?

    Definitely not. An elderly person trying to do a stretch being performed by a 20 year old athlete can do serious harm. Stretching is possibly the least understood and most under-utilized tool available to provide so many health benefits and in addition, allows everyone to undertake every daily task or sport more safely and more efficiently.

  • Is stretching a warm-up as well?

    Studies found that warming up by itself has no effect on range of motion, but that when the warm-up is followed by stretching there is an increase in range of motion. The findings indicate that warm-up prevents injury, whereas stretching has no effect on injury.

  • How long should I stretch for in general ?

    Studies do support that range of motion can be increased by a single twenty to thirty second stretch for each muscle group most days of the week. However, some people may require a longer time for various reasons, for example the elderly, during rehabilitation and prior to participating in a serious sport. There is also logic in the fact that research also supports the idea that the optimal duration and frequency for stretching may vary per muscle group.
    Research supports thirty seconds per stretch as part of general conditioning to improve your range of motion.

  • Are there basic guidelines for stretching?

    It is important to start on a stretching routine that suits your particular needs. For this reason, you will find that our stretching routines fall into different categories related to age, sport or even pain, for example back pain.
    The stretch should be done until you feel a slight pulling of the muscle, but not pain. As you hold the stretch the muscle will begin to relax.Then as you feel the tension easing, you can increase the stretch again until you feel the same slight pulling. Hold this position until you feel no further increase.
    If you do not seem to gain any range of motion using the above technique, you may consider holding the stretch longer (up to 60 seconds), but don’t overstretch.

  • Should I “hold” each stretch or “stretch & release” each movement?

    The two most common stretches are the “Static” and the “Ballistic” stretch.
    Static stretches are a bit easier to do and appear to have good results.
    Both systems are fine if you take care not to be too jerky with the ballistic stretching system.

  • Besides improving my flexibility, are there other advantages to stretching?

    Yes, there certainly are. Stretching is extremely relaxing and most athletes use stretching exercises to maintain a balance in body mechanics.
    Combined with correct breathing techniques (Refer to Link: “Breathing Naturally” and “Nose Breathing”), it will give you a new sense of well-being and alertness. It will help you learn more about your body which will help you improve your posture.
    You will find yourself doing a few stretches at work or at school just because you know it will help you release the tension and make you relax.
    Most important, stretching regularly just make you feel so good!

  • Illustrated Stretching routines include the following:

    - Stretches for the Beginner
    - Stretches for the Elderly
    - Sitting Stretches
    - Stretching for Teens
    - General Stretches
    - Stretches for various sports
    - Stretches to alleviate Back Pain
    - Stretches at Work or at School