Go4Life

Improve Your Flexibility

Flexibility, or stretching, exercises give you more freedom of movement for your physical activities and for everyday activities such as getting dressed and reaching objects on a shelf. Stretching exercises can improve your flexibility, but they will not improve your strength or endurance.

Be sure to try all four types of exercise — endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility.

Safety

  • If you’ve had hip or back surgery, talk with your doctor before doing lower-back flexibility exercises.
  • Always warm up before stretching exercises. Stretching your muscles before they are warmed up can result in injury. If you are doing only stretching exercises, warm up with a few minutes of easy walking first. If you are doing endurance or strength exercises, stretch after, not before.
  • Always remember to breathe normally while holding a stretch.
  • A mild pulling feeling while you are stretching is normal. If you feel sharp or stabbing pain or joint pain, you’re stretching too far. Reduce the stretch so it doesn’t hurt.
  • Always stretch with a smooth, steady movement. Don’t jerk or bounce into the stretch; it may cause injury.
  • Avoid “locking” your joints. Straighten your arms and legs when you stretch them, but don’t hold them tightly in a straight position. Always keep them slightly bent while stretching.

How Much, How Often

Do each stretching exercise 3 to 5 times at each session. Slowly and smoothly stretch into the desired position, as far as possible without pain. Hold the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds. Relax, breathe, then repeat, trying to stretch farther.


Progressing

As you become more flexible, try reaching farther in each exercise. But don’t go so far that it hurts.

Like us on Facebook!

Order a Free Exercise DVD