How Often Should I Be Stretching?
One of the questions we address the most as therapists is, “How often should I be stretching?”
Stretching can provide an advantage to anyone at any age or activity level. It can be an excellent addition to your daily routines to help improve your overall flexibility and balance while decreasing aches and pains. People have reported that even a weekly stretching regimen (2-3 times weekly) can provide ongoing benefits. However, how or when or what type of stretch you should be preforming changes with your goals and purpose for the practice.
In today’s world, more and more people work in a sedentary position, often at a desk. Prolonged inactivity can increase stress on muscles and tendons which can intensify stiffness and pain in areas like your back, neck, or knees. To counteract the effects of prolonged sitting, both static and dynamic stretches can help.
Additionally, the boom of new exercise trends and 24-hour facilities has gotten people moving in new ways. Giving your body some time to warm up with dynamic stretches and cool down with static stretches can help you become more limber and ease movement for the workout.
• Maintain a position to lengthen muscles and lightly pull on joints and tendons
• Hold the position for a short period of time (up to 30 seconds)
• Do not increase or cause pain
• An example would be reaching your arms above your head and “reaching for the sky,”
then holding that pose for 10 seconds
• Repetitive movement of a position to loosen muscles and tendons
• Preform for an extended period of time (up to five minutes)
• Should be done at a low intensity
• An example would be walking or pacing around the office for two minutes
Stretching can be incorporated to your daily life when you first wake up, before you go to bed,
throughout your day at work, before and after exercising, or periodically while you are lounging
on the couch. It can help keep you limber and prevent aches throughout each day.