Do You Really Need to Stretch?

cat-camel

It may sound like an odd question, but many of even the staunchest fitness connoisseurs have begun to question whether stretching is really necessary. After finding that common advice such as “always stretch before a workout” is erroneous and may even be harmful, many have their reservations about just stretching because they have been told that it’s a good thing to do. Staying flexible as you age is a good thing to do, though.

How Often Should You Stretch?

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends stretching each of the major muscle groups at least twice a week for 60 seconds per exercise. If you often sit at a desk for long periods of time or stand on your feet in one place, your stretching needs may vary slightly from someone that works in a very active job. A good rule of thumb is to stretch when you begin to feel stiff or sore.

Cat-Camel Stretch Rules

The cat-camel stretch can help to work the kinks out of your back, shoulders, hips, and neck. Simply get on your hands and knees with a neutral spine. Breathing in, roll your shoulders up and hunch your back as high as possible, bringing your chin to your chest. When you come to the top of your breath, release your back and allow it to swing completely down, bringing your head up and exhaling completely. Repeat a few times until your back feels loose and comfortable.

Reach Up!

A great first thing in the morning stretch that can help you to feel more in line and in tune is to stand straight and tall and reach as high as you can over your head. Allow your muscles to relax completely into the stretch, checking it if your are holding tension anywhere and just letting it go.

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