Slide show: A guide to basic stretches
Photo of safe stretching technique
Previous Next 1 of 10 Stretching safely

It's helpful to include stretching in your exercise regimen. Stretching can increase flexibility and improve your joint's range of motion, helping you move more freely. And ensuring that you have equal flexibility on both sides might help protect you from injury.

Before stretching, warm up with five to 10 minutes of light activity. Better yet, stretch after a workout. Keep stretches gentle and slow. Don't bounce. Breathe through your stretches. If you feel pain, you've stretched too far.

Hold a stretch for 10 to 30 seconds, to the point of a slight pull, on each side. Repeat the stretch on both sides two to four times. Stretching is recommended two to three days a week.

If you have health conditions or injuries, talk to your doctor or physical therapist about which stretches are right for you.
See more Multimedia March 30, 2017