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Benefits of Stretching
How to Stretch
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How to Lift
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Stories from Bill Pearl
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Quick Walks
How to Walk
Fitness from Walking
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Exercise Needn't Hurt!
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How to Stretch

The Right Way to Stretch

  • Breathe easily
  • Relax
  • Tune into your body
  • Focus on muscles and joints being stretched
  • Feel the stretch
  • Be guided by the feel of the stretch
  • No bouncing!
  • No pain!

The Wrong Way to Stretch

  • Holding your breath
  • Being in a hurry
  • Not being focused on your body
  • Stretching while tense
  • Bouncing
  • Stretching to the point of pain

Two Phases

There are two phases to each stretch: the easy stretch and the developmental stretch. They are done one after the other.

The Easy Stretch

Stretch until you feel a slight mild tension and hold for 5–10 seconds. Relax. As you hold the stretch, the feeling of tension should diminish. If it doesn’t, ease off slightly into a more comfortable stretch. The easy stretch maintains flexibility, loosens muscles and tight tendons, and reduces muscle tension.

The Developmental Stretch

Now, move a fraction of an inch farther into the stretch until you feel mild tension again. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Again, the feeling should diminish or stay the same. If the tension increases or becomes painful, you are overstretching — back off into a more comfortable stretch. The developmental stretch further reduces tension and increases flexibility.

Keep the following points in mind.

  • Always stretch within your comfortable limits, never to the point of pain.
  • Breathe slowly, rhythmically and under control. Do not hold your breath.
  • Take your time. The long-sustained, mild stretch reduces unwanted muscle tension and tightness.
  • Do not compare yourself with others. We are all different. Comparisons may lead to overstretching.
  • If you are stretching correctly, the stretch feeling should slightly subside as you hold the stretch.
  • Any stretch that grows in intensity or becomes painful means you are overstretching — the drastic stretch.

Pay attention to how each stretch feels.

Hold only stretch tensions that feel good. Relax while you concentrate on the area being stretched.

Important

  • No bouncing
  • No pain

How far should I stretch?

Your body is different every day. Be guided by how the stretch feels.

Stretching is not exercise!

You are stretching, not exercising. You don’t need to push it. Stretching is a mild, gentle activity.

Give it 2 to 3 weeks for benefits

The benefits come from regularity. Stick with it and see how you feel in a few weeks.

from Stretching in the Office © 2002 Bob Anderson, Jean Anderson, and Shelter Publications, Inc., Bolinas, CA

 
  1. Stretching for flexibility 
  1. Lifting for strength 
  1. Moving for stronger heart and lungs and better circulation
THESE MENUS REQUIRE JAVASCRIPT.
These activites are designed to be done in and around the office.


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