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The guidelines for stretching before exercise have changed over the years, but staying limber is still important.

posted May 19, 2014, 10:38 AM by Linda Hartkopf
Daily Dose
Improving flexibility prevents injury, improves performance, and helps ward off pain caused by tight muscles. But when it comes to how you improve your flexibility, the approach has changed a bit. The new thinking has to do with static stretching, or just warming up by doing a “light” version of the exercise you are about to do. Years ago, people held stretches for a long time, to the point of muscle fatigue, but it was found that this could cause injury and actually impair athletic performance. Now stretching is recommended after a light warm-up, or the warm-up itself can serve as a stretch for that set of muscles and tissues. Stretches should be held for just 15 to 30 seconds. A thorough stretching routine should cover all muscle groups and joints you are about to move, on both sides of your body. 

Get a smart stretching routine from Cleveland Clinic Wellness fitness expert Melissa Hendricks, MEd, ACSM-HFI, ACE, in her two-part series

You may also want to know: 

Smarter stretching made easy 

The building blocks of flexibility

Strengthen your body and mind with yoga 

 Cleveland Clinic Daily Wellness Tip