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    Here are the facts about stretching as well as the best stretches for total body flexibility. Read >>
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Get Flexible!

Not as flexible as you used to be? Try these total body stretches.

A lack of exercise, sitting for long periods, and the natural aging process put you at risk for tight muscles, ligaments, and tendons. This tightness limits your range of motion and increases your risk of injury. Frequently overlooked, flexibility should be an important part of your exercise routine.
Here are the facts about stretching as well as the best stretches for total body flexibility.

What’s the point of stretching?

Regular stretching has many benefits: improved performance, reduced muscle soreness, improved posture, less back pain, improved coordination, increased blood circulation, reduced stress, and relaxation.

How should you stretch?

The best time to stretch is after exercising, while your muscles are still warm. Don’t stretch before your workout while your muscles are still tight and cold. Doing this puts you at risk for injuring the very muscles you seek to strengthen and protect. You may also choose to do a few stretches after a short warm-up before your workout. And don’t just stretch randomly. Stretch all the muscles used in your workout.

It is also important to stretch between sets during your strength-training routine.

If you suffer from tight muscles in your shoulders, neck, or back, do some simple stretches throughout the day.

Also, remember that stretching shouldn’t hurt. Get in a position where you feel a gentle stretch on your muscle and hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Don’t bounce as you stretch, and breathe during each movement.


To stretch the large muscles on the front of your thighs, hold onto a wall or chair for balance. Grab your right foot, bend your right knee, and bring your foot up towards your backside until your knee is pointed toward the floor. Hold and switch legs.

Hamstrings and Calves

Your hamstrings are located on the back of your thighs, and your calves are on the back of your leg below the knee. Stand with your right foot forward. Keep your back straight and slowly lower your body by bending your left knee and raising your right toe. Lower until you feel a stretch on the back of your right leg. Hold. Then reach down and pull your toe up even further. This will bring your calf into the stretch. Hold. Then change sides.


A flexible, strong core protects your back from pain and improves posture. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Raise your arms straight out to the sides. Face forward and bend at your waist. Reach your right arm down to the side of your right leg, while your left arm reaches up toward the sky. Return to the starting position and then bend toward the left. Repeat.


Hold your hands together straight out in front of you. Round your back and press your hands away from your chest until you feel a stretch in your upper back.

Shoulders and Chest

Hold your hands together behind your lower back, keeping your arms straight. Raise your hands toward the sky until you feel a stretch in your shoulders and chest.


To stretch your biceps - the muscles on the top of your upper arm, extend your arm out to the side and slightly behind you. Start with your thumb pointed up and then rotate your thumb down and back to where it is pointing behind you. Hold and switch arms.


Triceps are the muscles on the upper back of your arms. To stretch these muscles, lift your left arm straight overhead, bend your elbow, and put your hand behind your head. Use your right hand to pull your left elbow down even farther until you feel a gentle stretch in your triceps. Hold and switch sides.