It’s proven: Stretching is great for your body, no matter how active (or inactive) your lifestyle is.
For the sedentary folks, it releases pent-up tension in the neck, back and shoulders – areas that get strained from daily activities like using your smartphone and typing on the computer keyboard.
Those who exercise regularly will definitely appreciate a good stretch. Post-workout, stretching helps to relieve tension, improve flexibility and mobility as well as lengthen your muscles.
Related: How To Warm Up Like A Pro
But if you are stiff as a board, get started with these tips:
1. Start With Dynamic Stretches, Then Static
Dynamic stretches will help to warm up the muscles gradually, allowing them to relax and be stretched safely. One example would be the standing hip flexor stretch – you bring one knee to the chest and swing the opposite arm forward; lower to ground and switch sides.
Static stretches, like standing or sitting forward bend, should be done for at least 15 seconds after dynamic stretches, or after you’re done exercising.
2. Expect Discomfort, Never Pain
It’s normal to feel a slight discomfort during stretching, but it should never be painful. A sharp pain could be caused by overstretching, leading to a muscle tear, or it could point to other underlying conditions.
3. Remember To Breathe
Take deep breaths while you hold a stretch. Deep breathing boosts blood, improving the elasticity of your muscles. You should feel them lengthening and relaxing into the stretch.
By Estelle Low for SHAPE