Stretching preserves mobility, improves range of motion in the joints, and protects you from future injury.
Don’t underestimate the importance of stretching. It’s not just for athletes, runners, and gymnasts.
First, understand that it’s not necessary to stretch every muscle in the body. Focus on the core muscle groups that most impact your daily life, such as your lower body — calves, hamstrings, hip flexors, pelvis, quadriceps — because these muscles affect your mobility and balance.
Secondly, remember to properly execute each stretch. Before starting any new workout regimen, consult a trainer or physical therapist. Basic stretching practices include: always warm up because you need to get blood flowing to the area to make the tissue more pliable; hold a stretch for at least 30 seconds; feel tension in a stretch, not pain; and don’t ever “bounce” while you stretch.
Click here for a collection of simple movements to ease you into your stretching routine.