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Working Out

Stretch for Flexibility

  • Listen to your body and do what you can. Everyone has a different level of flexibility, which is partly determined by your genes.

 

Stretching and More Stretching

Here are some activities you can try to improve your flexibility. They also can build strength, balance, or both:

  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Ballet, modern dance
  • Tai Chi, martial arts
  • Swimming
  • Balance or stability ball

If you're taking a class, give your body a chance to rest and repair itself by taking a day off from stretching.  If you stretch as part of an exercise routine like walking or jogging, vary your stretches. For instance, hold a few (static stretching) and move on a few (dynamic stretching) – bend, reach side to side, rotate your body around, but don't bounce. "Stretches with controlled movement are very good for helping us function throughout the day," says Blahnik.

Stretching throughout the day, rather than in one, longer time period, is perfectly okay, too. A couple of stretches in the morning after you get out of bed, in the evening when you get home from work, or at your desk at lunch or break time can re-energize mind and body.

"Stretching is about learning how to relax in a comfortable, individual way. It allows you to get back in touch with your body and with the way you feel," says Bob Anderson, author of  "Stretching In The Office."   And the more in tune you are with your body, the more active you want to be, says Anderson.

Whether you're trying to get active or have been active a long time, stretching will make you feel great all over. According to Anderson, "It's the element that allows people to like their bodies again and feel they're doing it right."

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