You know you need to stretch more. Effective stretching, after all, increases flexibility, which can help you maintain range of motion in your joints. “Having range of motion not only increases your performance in your workouts but also enhances daily life because you’ll be able to move better in everything you do,” says Frances Flores, NASM-certified personal trainer and yoga coach in Los Angeles.
Everyday activities, such as sitting or working out sans stretching, can shorten your muscles. Shortened muscles, in turn, decrease range of motion and can often trigger body aches and pains, Flores says. Yet by stretching, you keep your muscles long, healthy and strong — and become more mobile in the process.
Question is, though: How can you make those stretching sessions even more effective? Experts offer 10 tips:
1. Do dynamic stretches before a workout.
You probably think of stretches as those that you hold, and if you’re still following fitness practices from a decade ago, you might be doing them before your workout. But because your body isn’t warmed up yet, those stretches can strain your muscles or hinder your performance. Instead, swap static for dynamic stretches, moves that get your body warm and work on mobility, which you’ll need for your workout.