Regular stretching reduces muscle tension and improves circulation and can improve posture by increasing your range of motion, strength and flexibility.
Staci Wietfeld, DPT, OCS, a Physical Therapist at Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center, urges you to follow these tips:
- Prior to beginning your exercise, start with a gentle warm-up such as walking for 5 minutes. Then slowly increase your intensity as your muscles feel comfortable. Doing one or two stretching exercises after your warm up is a good idea if you have an area that feels a little more tight.
- Stretching again after you have finished your regular strength and cardio exercises is a good idea. When your muscles are warmed up from activity they are more flexible.
- If you are unable to do strength and cardio exercise, do stretching or Range of Motion exercises at least three times a week for 20 minutes each session. Even if you are just doing a stretching routine, it would still be a good idea to warm up with a little walking before you start.
- A good stretching program includes stretches for the muscles of the chest, shoulders, hips, buttocks, hamstrings, calf and back.
- Slowly stretch the desired position. Stretch to tightness but not pain. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds before relaxing. Repeat, trying to stretch a little farther if you can. Do each stretch two or three times, switching from right side to left side as you go.
Learn more about our Therapy and Rehabilitation programs.