Generally speaking, being flexible is a good thing. It promotes blood flow, muscle elasticity and can increase range of motion. However stretching beyond your body’s natural limits isn’t as helpful as you may think.

Take for example the humble toe touch… what is the point of being able to touch your toes, without abdominal, back and leg strength to pick up something off the ground?

Strength training is often blamed for excessive injury and “gentle” exercise hailed as a saving grace. Unfortunately any exercise that goes beyond reason can be dangerous – including a simple stretch.

Overstretching can result in an injury, such as a strain or a sprain, because it requires pushing muscles, tendons, and ligaments beyond their normal limits.

I believe it’s not helpful, when in not “feeling” the stretch in an acceptable range of motion, to go beyond the stretch benefits to achieve a sensation.

Therefore, the best way to avoid overstretching is to stay within your pain free, and functional  range of motion. If you are properly stretching, it usually feels like a slight pull in the muscle.

Stretching isn’t 100% comfortable, but it it’s not painful either. Stretching requires focus, with a slow movement to a point of muscle tension and then holding the position for up to 20 seconds.

Using the “in” breath, to gently intensify the stretch, and the “out” breath to gently, move deeper into the stretch. Stretching is a calm and rhythmical action working with your body to improve its capability.

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Live well with Health and WELLth!  

Written by Anna: Nutritionist and Exercise Coach