Why Stretch?

Stretching is an important part of any exercise plan and is often neglected in favour of strengthening and aerobic exercise. Stretching a muscle isn't about challenging it. Stretching creates length between the two attachment points of a muscle to release tension and keep the muscle from becoming shortened and prone to injury. 

Why Stretch?

  • Stretching keeps your muscles supple and improves your range of movement. This in turn, decreases your risk of injury when you do sport or other activities such as gardening
  • Stretching prepares the muscles for sport. A pre-stretched muscle resists stress better than an un-stretched muscle
  • Stretching helps in rehabilitation after a muscle or joint injury
  • Stretching develops body awareness as you become more focused on how different parts of you body feel
  • Stretching reduces muscle tension and relaxes the body
  • Stretching relaxes both the body and the mind
  • Stretching makes you feel ALIVE!

7 Guidelines for Stretching

  1. Warm-up before you stretch, at least enough to get your circulation going. Do not stretch cold muscles.
  2. Stretching is a great way to start the day to wake up the body and at the end of the day to relax the body.
  3. Stretching doesn't have to take much time as just doing a neck stretch at work or a leg stretch after a long drive is helping you.
  4. Don't take a stretch to the point that you can't relax into it. You should feel that it's doing you some good but not so much that you find you are holding your breath. You should feel the tension subsiding slightly as you hold it.
  5. Hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds, no less, otherwise you won't get any benefit.
  6. Breathe into a stretch and visualise it releasing. Never underestimate the power of the breath.
  7. Never bounce in a stretch. This is dynamic stretching and only used to prepare a muscle for explosive activity such as sprinting.

See the Essential Stretching page for some ideas!

Last update: September 06, 2016