Stretching the body on a regular basis helps keep the muscles long, lean, and healthy. A regular stretching routine maintains the body’s flexibility and range of motion. It can also improve posture and reduce body aches. Lack of stretching causes muscles to tighten and shorten, which increases the risk of muscle damage, joint pain, and strains.

Stretching strengthens and lengthens the muscles, which improves mobility, balance, stability, and posture. Strong and flexible muscles help the joints maintain full range of motion, which decreases the risk of injury and improves the ability to perform everyday activities.

There are two main types of stretching: dynamic and static.

  • Dynamic stretches are typically done before exercise. They are gentle, active movements that stretch the body to prepare the muscles for movement. Dynamic stretches are not held in one position; they are fluid movements.
  • Static stretches are most beneficial when done after exercise, as the joints and muscles are more flexible due to increased blood flow during exercise. Static stretches are not fluid; they involve stretching a specific muscle group and holding the position for a period of time, usually from 10 to 30 seconds.

Stretching does not need to be regimented to experience benefits. Stretching can be easily integrated into a daily routine, such as stretching when getting out of bed or during breaks at work. It’s important to note that if health concerns are an issue, a health care professional should be consulted about what type of stretches are most beneficial and pose the least risk of injury.