How Often Should We Stretch?
Stretching is an essential aspect of every fitness routine, though it often gets less attention than other forms of exercise. Stretching regularly has numerous positive effects. In addition to helping you become more flexible, stretching can help you maintain a healthier posture, lessen tension, and soothe muscle pain.
However, like many healthy practices, excessive stretching can have negative consequences. On the other hand, if you don't stretch enough, you might not reap the benefits. So how can you find a middle ground? How often should you stretch to reap the benefits?
How frequently should you perform stretching exercises?
Like any other exercise, regular stretching is necessary for optimal results. However, it takes consistent effort over time to reap the health benefits. Therefore, irregular stretch exercises can only yield temporary benefits. The best results will come from sticking to a daily routine.
The more often you engage in stretching exercises, the better. Thus, instead of doing it for a more extended time once or twice a week, stretching for a short period every day or every other day. is preferable
The American College of Sports Medicine suggests that performing static stretching at least twice or thrice weekly is ideal as part of a general fitness routine. Also, each session should be preceded by an active warm-up.
How long should you hold a stretch?
You need to hold stretches for at least 30 seconds for them to have any effect. Giving your muscles time to relax while in the stretched posture is a vital aspect of stretching. As a result, your body will learn to safely perform the movement. In addition, it's a risk-free way to stretch your muscles and tendons, improving your flexibility.
On the other hand, avoid maintaining a stretch for too long. The time varies from person to person because of factors such as fitness level and health conditions. Therefore, know when you've stretched yourself too far by developing an intuitive connection to your body.
When you push yourself too far, your body will let you know. For example, if your muscles hurt after you release it, you've probably held a stretch position for too long. Stop the stretch right away if you feel any pain. Ignoring your body's signals and going beyond your physical limits puts your body at risk for injuries like strains and sprains.
Ensure you understand how to stretch correctly before diving in. Proper stretching shouldn't hurt, regardless of your fitness level. The following are some suggestions that can improve your stretching routine:
- Always check with your doctor before trying new stretches if you have a recent or preexisting injury.
- Make sure you're stretching safely and correctly by regularly checking in with a fitness professional.
- You should ease into stretching if you've never done it before. Then, slowly work your way to the top and tailor your stretching routine to your skill and fitness level.
- Always warm up before stretching. Stretching is most effective after a workout. Alternatively, suppose you don't want to work out. In that case, a quick warm-up of light cardio is best before executing your stretches.
- Avoid muscle injury by stretching different groups at different times. Repeatedly stretching the same muscles multiple times a day can strain them.
- If you feel pain while stretching, ease up until you can continue without pain.