Increase your flexibility and range of motion
As well as requiring our muscles to be strong, we also need them to be supple and stretchy. Supple muscles are less likely to become injured and more likely to facilitate easier execution of activities of daily living such as bending, reaching, lifting and turning.
This is a much neglected type of exercise largely due to peoples’ perceptions that it does not do much. Yet it holds the key to enhancing our aerobic fitness and muscle strength as well as being a standalone type of exercise with its own unique set of physical outcomes listed above. Stretching exercises can help address any muscle imbalances that can occur over the years from poor posture or other bad habits such as excessive sedentary behaviour. This in turn optimises our efforts in the other two types of exercise (Aerobic & Resistance).
For effective muscle stretching please follow the FITT guidelines below.
Frequency (How many days per week do I need to engage in stretching)
- ≥2-3 days a week
Intensity (How hard do I need to be working when I’m stretching)
- Stretch to the point of feeling tightness or slight discomfort
Time (How long should I hold each stretch for)
- 10-30 seconds. For older adults (>65 years of age) holding a stretch for 30-60 seconds can give greater benefits
Type (Examples of stretching exercises)
- Watch the video for a complete series of muscle stretching exercises for each of the major muscle groups.
To avoid injury, it is important that you do these stretches when your muscles are warm (i.e. at the end of an aerobic or muscle strengthening session). See pg. 7 of our Resistance Training at Home booklet for cool down stretches.
Need some help or have a question?
The Croí Health Team is here as always if you need support. Contact us by email at email@example.com or call 091-544310.