Stretching is an important, though often forgotten, part of any workout routine. But stretching incorrectly can be just as damaging to your body as not stretching at all. Here are some tips for safe, effective stretches:
- Start by warming up. Get the blood flowing with a slow jog or other relaxed exercise. Never stretch cold muscles.
- After warming up, but before your workout gets going, do dynamic stretches with slow, flowing movements. This is better than holding stretches — a move better suited to after the workout.
- Different workouts can lead to different injuries. Learn warm-ups and stretches particular to your sport so you're working the right muscles.
- After your workout, do those static, holding stretches mentioned above. Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds.
- Never stretch so long or so far that it hurts. It might be slightly uncomfortable but shouldn't be painful.
See WebMD.com for more on these and other stretching tips.
— The Washington Post