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Who Should Stretch?

Everyone can learn to stretch, regardless of age or flexibility. You do not need to be in top physical condition or have specific athletic skills. Whether you sit at a desk all day, dig ditches, do housework, stand at an assembly line, drive a truck or exercise regularly the same techniques of stretching apply. The methods are gentle and easy, conforming to individual differences in muscles tension and flexibility. So, if you are healthy, without any specific physical problems, you can learn to enjoy to stretch safely and enjoyably.
NOTE: If you you have any health problems or physical problems consult your health professional before you start a stretching or exercise program.

Why Stretch?

Reduce muscle tension and make the body feel more relaxed.
Help coordination by allowing for freer and easier movement
Increase range of motion
Help prevent muscle strains
Helps maintain flexibility , so as time passes you do not become increasingly stiff.
Develop body awareness; as you stretch various parts of your body, you focus on them and get in touch with your body; learn to listen to your body.

How to Stretch

The correct way to stretch is a relaxed, sustained stretch with your attention focused on the muscles being stretched. Do not bounce or stretch to the point of pain, this can do more harm than good.
When you begin a stretch, spend 10-15 seconds in an easy stretch. Go to the point where you feel mild tension , and relax as you hold the stretch. The feeling of tension should subside as you hold the postion. If it does not, ease off slightly and find a degree of tension that is comfortable. The easy stretch reduces muscle tension and readies the tissues for the developmental stretch.

After the easy stretch, move slowly into the developmental stretch. Again no bouncing. Move a fraction of an inch further until you agian feel a mild tension and hold for 10-15 seconds. Be in control. Again, the tension should diminish; if not ease off slightly. Remember:If the stretch tension increases as the stretch is held and/or it becomes painful, you are stretching too far! Your breathing should be slow, rhythmical, and under your control. If you are bending forward to do a stretch, exhale as you bend forward and then breathe slowly as you hold the stretch. Do not hold your breath while stretching. If a stretch postition inhibits your natural breathing pattern, then you are obviously not relaxed. Just ease up on the stretch so you can breathe naturally.

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