a woman sitting on a sidewalk

Values of Stretching

February 01, 2022

As we begin the new year with our resolutions to increase cardiovascular activity, begin weight training, eat better, improve sleeping habits; lets not forget the importance and value of adding stretching into our routines. Not only can stretching improve flexibility, which consequently helps joint move through ROM, but it:
  • Helps improve performance in physical activity
  • Decreases risk of injury
  • Enables muscles to work most effectively
  • Increase blood flow to muscles
  • Reduces muscle tension
  • Increase serotonin levels (the hormone that stabilizes mood and reduces stress)

Stretching will not magically improve flexibility performing it once. Unfortunately it takes weeks to months to notice a change. Even if you can not incorporate stretching daily, one can benefit from a program of 2-3x/week. In order to get blood flow to the area to make tissue more pliable it would be beneficial to stretch after a 5-10 minute warm up activity. Warm up activities can be as simple as a walk or stationary bike.

When stretching hold 30-60 seconds, to the point of tension but no pain. If you are new to stretching focusing on major muscle groups is beneficial (including but not limited to calves, hamstring, hip flexors, quadriceps, neck, shoulders & low back). Remember stretching is not the cure all and does not mean you can not get injured. If you are not sure, speak with your physician or physical therapist.

About The Author:
Bethany Dehner, PTA