2: Flexibility Activities
Step 2: Add Flexibility (Stretching) Activities
WHY: Improves range of motion for activities of daily living, such as combing hair, getting dressed, or picking up objects from the floor. Stretching may also prevent pain or injury.
WHAT: Muscular flexibility activities include stretching of major muscle and/or tendon groups to improve muscle length and flexibility.
WHEN: Stretching activities are typically performed before and after exercises such as aerobic activities or strength training. Stretching should be performed a minimum of 2-3 days/week
WHERE TO START: Begin with 5 to 10 stretches of the upper and lower body. Use either static (hold without bouncing) or contract-relax techniques (stretch the muscle, contract muscle against resistance for 6 seconds, and stretch again); Hold stretch in a position of mild discomfort for 10-30 seconds. Repeat 3-4 times for each stretch. Be sure to continue breathing while holding stretches.
HOW TO PROGRESS: Begin your routine by choosing stretches based on needs (for example, someone with functional limitations in the upper body will perform more upper body stretches). Add other stretches as needed.
GOAL: Perform stretching activities at least 2 to 3 days per week, preferably before and after each aerobic or strengthening activity routine.
WHEN TO MOVE INTO STEP 3: Integrate a strengthening program into your weekly routine once regular cardiorespiratory and flexibility activities are performed.
Visit Theraband's Performance Health Academy to see the numerous stretching exercises possible with their stretch bands.
RECOMMENDED STRETCHING ACTIVITIES:
- Neck Retraction or Chin Tuck Stretch: Sit in a chair with your back straight and shoulders pulled back. Gently tuck your chin inward and apply light pressure with your fingers. You should feel a stretch in the back of your neck.
- Fingers-to-toes Stretch: Stand erect with arms raised, reaching for the sky; in one smooth action slowly roll arms, shoulders and upper back forward while also slowly flexing knees and hips lower toward floor until fingers touch toes, then straighten legs again, and enjoy back stretching in a curve.
The Following stretches are done with a Band:
- Calf Stretch
- Pectoral Stretch
- Side Bends
- Trunk Rotation