The Five-Minute Full Body Stretch
There is still a great deal of confusion when it comes to stretching: What to do, when to do it, how much to do, and if it really benefits us at all. Well, flexibility is one of the five components of fitness. When your muscles become overly tight, problems can occur. Your body tends to work best when the joints can move through their full, natural range of motion.
Your flexibility decreases with age, but it doesn't have to. Just like muscle mass can be preserved as you get older by consistent strength training, you can maintain your flexibility as well by engaging in a regular stretching routine. Here is a five-minute routine with 14 stretches that will loosen your major muscle groups from head to toe. You will hold each stretch for 20 seconds:
That is one of the secrets of success with flexibility: Having a routine. It doesn't need to be long or complicated, either. Doing just a few minutes of basic stretches on most days of the week will help prevent the loss of flexibility while keeping your body performing optimally.
A few quick pointers:
- Studies show that a great time to stretch is after a cardio workout, when your muscles are warm from the increased blood flow.
- You should feel a gentle stretch, not pain.
- Remember to breathe throughout the stretch.