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Lani Telian, Department of Public Health
Lani is a Health Communication Specialist for DPH  

 

Picture what you think someone would look like if they were physically fit. You're probably picturing someone who can long run distances, lift heavy weights, and…touch their toes?

Rarely do we consider flexibility a part of being physically fit, but stretching your muscles is an important part of staying healthy. Think of waking up in the morning.  Most people yawn and reach for the sky, opening up their chests and arms after a good night of sleep. Our bodies want to be stretched – not only does it feel great, it also increases blood flow to the muscles. Being flexible helps us move, turn, twist, and lift without getting hurt. 

Here are some tips for stretching the right way:

  • Warm up with light walking for 5-10 minutes before stretching. Don’t stretch muscles when they're cold – that can lead to getting hurt.
  • Avoid bouncing while you stretch – this can tear the muscle.
  • Challenge yourself. Stretch your muscles as much as you can, but don't push yourself too hard. Realize when your body is telling you it’s being pushed too far.
  • Bring movement into your stretch. For example, lift your knees up as you walk.
  • Try a yoga class, or find a yoga video to watch online.
  • Stretch at least 2-3 times a week! This will help keep you flexible and feeling great all week long.

Also, remember to stretch before and after your workouts. Check out Laura's post on a total body stretching program, and visit CDC for more tips on warming up and cooling down the right way.

 

 

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