4 tips for safe stretching: how to stretch properly

4 tips for safe stretching

Flexibility training is a wonderful form of exercise. It helps people reduce stiffness and pain, perform daily activities with ease, improve sports performance and reduce anxiety and stress symptoms. But, like all other forms of exercise, stretching can also be dangerous. Stretching safely will actually lead to better results faster. Pain isn't always gain! 

Here are 4 ways to stretch safely and gain better results: 

1. Take your time

Take time getting into a position. The journey is just as important as the destination. Think of the process of getting into the position is as important as being in the position. Some stretching positions are uncomfortable and difficult to maintain. As we have discussed in previous posts, our nervous system has to trust that our movements are safe in order to achieve results, therefore just getting into the position could be the exercise.

2. Modify when needed

Modify any position or movement when needed. Everyones' body is different and reacts differently to exercise. You don’t have to get to the same level as the instructor or the participants around you. Focus on what feels right for your body that day in that moment. If the instructor provides you with different options (a well qualified stretching instructor will alway provide modifications!) then try them. 

3. Breathe

Breathe throughout the entire exercise. Especially when it's challenging. If you find you are holding your breath, then you are either in too difficult of a position or you are not concentrating on your breath. Inhale towards the bottom of your lungs and then exhale slowly. A slow and relaxed breath helps calm the nervous systems and allows your body to feel safe in the position.

4. Believe you can do it.

Believing that your body will adapt to the exercises is an important aspect many people forget. A positive mindset focused on allowing your body to change with the movements will result in great results. We truly are we we believe we are. 

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