Developing a proper stretching plan

You cannot maintain an active lifestyle without developing a dependable and regular stretching plan.

If you do not give your muscles the greatest chance to return to a resting state after exercise, they will break down over time and you will be in discomfort.

There is plenty of debate about when the best time to stretch is and how much stretching one should do, but here is a basic guide to loosening up your muscles.

First of all, make sure you are wearing loose and comfortable clothes. You should be warmly dressed but not hot.

Find a good space with plenty of room, such as the living room or another appropriate area. Try to stretch away from people and distractions like music and television.

Give your legs, arms, neck and hips a good wriggle and shake before you start stretching.

Remember that the best stretches are those that you ease into with steady breathing, and not sudden jerky movements.

Start at the base of your feet, working up through your body sequentially. 

Stretch each body part for ten to fifteen seconds, and stretch each side of the body twice.

As you progress with your stretching regime you will not only start to feel better in your own skin, you will start to learn how to adjust the program to suit your personal needs.

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