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3 – IF Stretching Tips
- Warm up first
Before stretching, always do a brief (5- to 10-minute) warmup, such as jogging in place, brisk walking, riding a stationary bike or doing less-vigorous rehearsals of the sport or exercise you’re about to perform. Warming up gradually increases your heart rate and blood flow and raises the temperature of muscles, ligaments and tendons. Stretching cold muscles may injure them, and sudden exertion without a warmup can lead to abnormal heart rate and blood flow and changes in blood pressure. You can also stretch when cooling down after a workout.
- Do It Regularly
Stretch at least three times a week to maintain flexibility. A session should last 10 to 20 minutes, with each static stretch held for at least 10 seconds (working up to 20 to 30 seconds) and usually repeated about four times. Some trainers believe that stretches should be held for one to two minutes, but this is controversial.
- Stretch Safely
Stretching too vigorously, holding a stretch too long or stretching until it hurts is not recommended. Stretching should feel good. Static stretching, in which you stretch through a muscle’s full range of movement until you feel resistance but not pain, is probably the safest type. Stretch to the point of mild discomfort, at most, and then ease up. If you feel any pain, stop.
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