3 Tips on What Not to Do When Stretching

A person stretching to touch their toes

Stretching is good for your body. It can help you feel more relaxed or more energetic, and it can increase your range of motion over time. It also helps prevent injury because your muscles are warmed up and ready to work. Stretching is also good for after a workout because it allows the muscles to relax instead of getting stiff and sore. However, if you do stretching the wrong way, you could end up getting hurt.

Don’t Stretch Without Warming Up First

Many people think of stretching as the warmup, but it doesn’t work that way. If your muscles are cold when you stretch, you increase the risk that they will tear or get strained. The best time to stretch is after they get warmed up with some cardio first or do the rest of your workout and end with stretching.

Don’t Push Past the Point of Pain

Stretching should force your muscles to move just a little farther than what they are accustomed to, but it shouldn’t be painful. You may feel a little discomfort, but no sharp or intense pain. If you do, stop stretching immediately. Also, don’t hold intense stretches too long.

Don’t Hold Your Breath

It’s all too easy to focus on doing the movement right and hold your breath as you count the time for the stretch. Don’t do this. You’re depriving your muscles of oxygen, which they need. When you hold your breath, your muscles contract. As you exhale, the muscles relax. Focus on breathing instead of the stretch.

Stretching is highly beneficial but it can lead to injury when not done right. Make sure you avoid these three issues when doing your stretches.

© 2020 Muscle Matters Inc. — all rights reserved.