How to Create a Stretching Routine
If your muscles ache after a long day at work, or if you continue to injure yourself when working or exercising because your muscles are stiff, consider creating a stretching routine for yourself and incorporating it into your daily schedule.
Many folks don’t stretch because they believe they don’t have the time to do so–but in reality, creating a stretching routine is easy and making it a habit takes minimal effort and just a few minutes of your day. The results you reap will be worth your investment of time and energy!
Clarify Your Needs
To create a stretching routine, first consider why you feel you need to stretch. You may want to consult with a medical professional if you have chronic back or hip pain; they can help you pinpoint the best stretches to perform daily.
Try to nail down what you hope to gain from stretching (improved posture, athletic performance, mobility, pain management) and keep this goal in mind as you move forward with your stretching routine. This will also help you pick and choose what stretches, in particular, you will perform each day.
Set Aside Time to Stretch
This is perhaps the more difficult step—make time in your day to stretch. It doesn’t have to be a full hour or even a half hour—fifteen minutes would be sufficient if you’re pressed for time. Try to align the time of day you stretch with the goals you hope to achieve. For example, if you’re hoping that stretching will help you release muscle tension and stress so you can sleep better, make time in the evening before you go to sleep to fit in your stretching routine.
Set Attainable Goals
The best way to remain consistent with stretching is to set goals; setting attainable goals will help you to track your progress, and reaching goals will encourage you to stay consistent. Consider where you want to improve, whether it is in flexibility or consistency; keep track of your progress in a fitness journal. Reaching small goals like being able to reach your toes and releasing tension in your shoulders will help contribute to larger goals such as improved overall mobility.
Creating a stretching routine is simple, but the benefits can be enormous for your overall health. When beginning a stretching routine, keep in mind the importance of clear goals, ample time, and consistency, and you’ll be on your way to reaping the health benefits of stretching in no time.