• Getting FITT with Stretching


    Stretching or lengthening your muscles helps you become more limber, which makes certain activities of daily living easier. Plus, the improved flexibility gained from stretching regularly helps you prevent injuries when you are performing everyday body movements and especially during exercise. Stretching also reduces muscle tension, increases circulation, improves posture, and it just naturally feels good! 

    The FITT principle can help you incorporate stretching exercise into your physical activity plan.

    Frequency (how often you are physically active in a week)

    Aim to do stretching exercises as many times as you do cardio—working toward five times per week.  Stretch all the major muscle groups. The more frequently you stretch, the more quickly you will improve your flexibility.

    The best time to stretch is usually after you cool down at the end of a cardio exercise session. At the very least, warm up by walking for 5 minutes before stretching. Stretching after you’ve increased blood flow to your muscles and after your tendons and ligaments have been in use will minimize possible injury during stretching.

    Intensity (how hard you work each time you are physically active)

    Each stretch should be performed with a slow, steady movement without bouncing or locking your joints, which can cause injury. Stretch just to the point of mild discomfort, stopping before the stretch becomes painful.

    Time (the duration or how long your physical activity lasts)

    Aim to stretch for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. Hold each stretch for about 15 seconds. Repeat as necessary, according to what feels good.

    Type (the kind of physical activity you are doing)

    There are many different stretches you can do to help increase the range of motion of all your joints.

    Common Stretches:

    Calf Stretch [Lunging Calf Stretch]

    Hamstring Stretch [Seated Forward Bend]

    Quadriceps Stretch [Standing Quad Stretch]

    Inner Thigh and Hip Stretch [Seated Butterfly Stretch]

    Abdominals Stretch [Lying Abs Stretch]

    Lower Back Stretch [Lying Double Knee Stretch]

    Upper Back Stretch [Cat Stretch]

    Chest Stretch [Standing Chest Stretch]

    Shoulders Stretch [Standing Shoulder Stretch]

    Triceps Stretch [Standing Triceps Stretch]

    Biceps Stretch [Standing Wrist-Biceps Stretch]

    Neck Stretch