June 9, 2017

To Stretch or Not To Stretch?

When I teach private yoga sessions, my clients often ask me: ” How often should I stretch?” or another one is “Why do I always feel so tight?”. Here’s my perspective on stretching based on years of experience with my clients:

  • Some people are genetically more flexible (have good range of movement- ROM) than others even if they don’t stretch
  • Women are generally more flexible than men, especially in their hips and shoulders  (evolutionary characteristic)
  • ALL people experience feeling of “tightness” in their muscles, even those who have good mobility and ROM. Feeling of tightness and actually having tight muscles is two different things.
  • The older we get, the tighter our body becomes, especially if we don’t stretch on a regular basis
  • It’s easier to stretch towards the end of the day when the body is warmer and more awake.
  • It’s easier to stretch in a warm room/warm climate environment/ after performing warm up exercises
  • I recommend my clients to stretch every day and spend at least 30-45 sec holding each stretching position
  • I personally stretch my body as often as I can- sometimes before going to bed, sometimes while waiting in line, when training my clients, after a long hike/bike ride.
  • I incorporate a lot of exercises into my own routine and into my clients’ routine that both stretch and strengthen muscles. For instance, dead lifts stretch and strengthen hamstrings; pike strengthens abdominals and stretches hamstrings; reverse plank stretches front of shoulders and strengthens posterior body; chest flies stretch and strengthen pectoral muscles.
  • To sum it up, regardless how flexible you think you are, it’s always good to stretch- even if you only can dedicate 5-10 min of your day to stretching – do it!

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