Six-Pack of stretching tips

With many people starting to become more active again, it’s important to get back into fitness the right way.
If you spring back into working out too hard, or too fast, you just might blow a spring of your own.
It’s important to stretch every day, to improve flexibility and avoid injury.
However, many people still hold onto old-school advice on how to stretch. There are many misconceptions out there.
To make sure you get the best and healthiest stretches, here are six tips on how to limber up the right way.
1. Don’t do full stretch routine before workouts – Your old gym teacher may have started class with everyone doing a full-stretch routine, but you shouldn’t do that when just starting a workout! The body will be cold and results will be greatly reduced.
2. Perform light stretch to get started – Do some very light stretching for a few minutes, then perform a light warm-up of about 5-10 minutes of light walking on the treadmill, biking, elliptical work or jogging.
3. Stretch with slow, fluid movements – After warming up, then you can spend 5-10 minutes doing a complete stretch. Avoid bouncing or jerking, instead slowly stretch your muscles to the endpoint of movement and hold the stretch for about 10 to 30 seconds. It’s important to breathe during the stretch – feel your muscles actually relaxing as you slowly exhale in and out. Senior citizens, or people with injuries or other special situations may need to take precautions.
Make sure to stretch again after the workout.
4. Stretch lightly throughout workout – Throughout a workout and even through the day make sure to stretch lightly. It’s not enough to just do one real good stretch during or after a workout.
Even at work, take a break about every 1 1-2 hours to get up and move around and lightly stretch.
5. Don’t over stretch – Most trainers say to hold a stretch for no longer than 30 seconds at a time. You’re not likely to get badly injured stretching, but it is possible to slightly tear muscle fibers if you push too hard.
If you feel mild pain or discomfort be careful and don’t over-do a stretch too far past that point. Also, as mentioned above, don’t bounce while stretching.
6. Pay special attention to problem areas – You should try to get a good overall stretch every time, but you should also focus in on problem areas.
Your body will tell you during the course of a day and even a stretching session which areas are the tightest. By concentrating on tighter areas you can help alleviate the problems and oftentimes even prevent injury down the road.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at