I know it sounds daft, but do breathe! It’s tempting to stretch and hold your breath as you do so. This is wrong. It could also be an indication that you are stretching too strenuously.
Be relaxed and breath gently
The idea is that you should be relaxed and breathe gently through your stretches. I find that if I count out loud while I am stretching, this helps both my breathing and controlling the length of my stretch.
Start with easy stretches
The other general rule is to start with gentle easy stretches. If it hurts, ease off until it doesn’t. You should feel slight tension, more of an awareness of your body. These should be held for just 10 / 20 seconds.
Next, move into more of a challenging stretch by moving further into the stretch so you can feel it in the muscle you’re working on. Stay in this for about 30 seconds. The tension should lessen during this time.
Warm-up before stretching
Lastly, stretching is more effective when your body is warm, so before you start stretching, it’s a good idea to jog on the spot for about 15 minutes or walk briskly.
- Warm-up first
- Breathe gently
- Count the seconds out loud
- Start easy and progress
- Drink plenty of water
- Repeat stretches for both sides of the body
- Stop if it hurts and ease off the stretch
- Rush into your stretches
- Stretch, so far it hurts
- Stretch on a full stomach