Tips to Help You Stretch Properly

Whether you are in physical therapy after an injury or a surgery or you are just looking to start exercising, stretching is very important and has a great number of benefits. You should stretch every single day to in general, but especially when instructed to by a physical therapist. If you aren't doing these stretches properly, you could potentially injure yourself, or hinder your recovery. Read on for tips to help you stretch properly.

Warm Up

You need to warm up your body and your muscles properly before you begin stretching or doing any exercises at all. Cold muscles can result in injuries, or pain that can linger for days later. Warm up your muscles by jogging in place for about 30 seconds. Pump your arms while you jog in place to really warm up all of your muscles.

Hold Your Stretches

Hold your stretches for at least 30 seconds. Holding your stretches will help loosen up the tissues in your muscles. Not holding the stretch long enough can mean your muscles aren't going to be loosened enough, which may result in injuries. Hold your stretches, or it's like you didn't stretch that muscle at all.

Hold Steady

Never bounce while you stretch. You want a steady stretch that lengthens your muscles. Bouncing is going to cause your tissues to stretch and then release over and over again. It can cause small tears in the muscles, which is going to weaken the muscles rather than strengthen them. Always hold your stretches steady.

Don't Overdo It

You should never stretch too far, so don't overdo it. You know you've gone too far if you are beginning to feel any pain while you're stretching. Each day that you stretch, you can go deeper into the stretch. If you aren't able to touch your toes without feeling pain, don't try to get there on your first try. Give yourself time, you'll get there. Overdoing it can lead to injuries and muscle tears and can put you out of commission while you try to recover.

Breathe Through Your Stretches

Breathe through each stretch and focus not only on stretching but on your breathing as well. Inhale and then exhale while you deepen further into your stretch. Do not attempt to hold your breath while you stretch. How you breathe can actually affect your stretching. Breathe in through the nose and out the mouth.

Stretching is very important and can help improve your overall health. It can aid in recovery after surgery and also strengthen your muscles. Talk to your physical therapist or physician about other stretching tips.