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Exercise & Fitness

Stretching: Less pain, other gains

March 8, 2019

About the Author

photo of Kelly Bilodeau

Kelly Bilodeau, Former Executive Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watch

Kelly Bilodeau is the former executive editor of Harvard Women’s Health Watch. She began her career as a newspaper reporter and later went on to become a managing editor at HCPro, a Boston-area healthcare publishing company, … See Full Bio
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April 10, 2019

Yoga has taken the world by storm. More people than ever starting to do yoga to achieve health, fitness and even peace of mind with it.

There are several different types of yoga and it can be overwhelming trying to figure out which one to do.

Yoga Burn was created by a professional yoga instructor, Zoe Bray.

She released this course just for women who were trying to lose weight. Running, CrossFit and other sports may be too strenuous for many women.

Donald Bill
April 8, 2019

I’m a personal trainer and have a hard time convincing a lot of myclients the importance of warming up before doing any kind of exercise. I think the biggest problem people have with stretching is that the rewards are not immediate or “apparent”, so they tend to think of them as a waste of time. I tell them yoga is technically just stretching as well, but the benefits are well documented.

On the subject of stretching, these days I’ve been encouraging my clients to do yoga and office stretches at their desk even outside their workout routines:

People seem to appreciate stretching as a health benefit more when they are done at the workplace when otherwise they are not being physically active.

Elma Malan
March 25, 2019

I walked 618 km of the Camino in 2018 at the age of 76. Started at St Jean Pied de Port to Burgos, then from Leon to Santiago. That was 27 days of walking. Due to not having enough time, i took a bus from Burgos to Leon ( the Maseta) stretching every night before going to bed was very helpful. I had no injuries at all, actually the walking was wonderful for my body. But do believe in stretching from time to time.

March 13, 2019

This is such a good article to promote more awareness on benefits of stretching because as we get older our muscles get shorter and tighter . Stretching will help you feel a lot better physically and a personal trainer I see immediate results from stretching which makes people realise yes they need to stretch regularly

March 12, 2019

There is no field of practice that is little understood and studied and less as a “science” of stretching. Stretching not only does not prevent injury (a persistent myth among athletes, coaches and owners of stretching studies), but there is no evidence of their contribution to reducing morbidity or mortality. This is really an optional element in a physical training program IF someone adheres to the main basic principles: know how to do warm-up exercises for activities; work with opposite muscle groups (i.e., if you press the bench to train your chest, you also have to train the top and center of your back); and, find and use mobility exercises that allow you to move all your joints in the most complete range of motion.

March 12, 2019

A physical therapist once told my son that stretching AFTER exercise is most important. I’ve stuck to that rule, and find that after exerting myself, a simple 10 – 15 minute gentle but thorough stretch routine (created by myself and my instincts as to what feels OK and gets to all areas of concern) almost always resolves any aches or pains resulting from exercise. Never mind it’s meditative and relaxing benefits.

Sharon Neufeld
March 12, 2019

Nothing has been more profound for my aging body as is doing Somatics,
(Or feldenkrise or Anat Baniel technique) these aren’t stretches but movements to awaken neurological pathways that have been lost due to lack of use, or trauma. They are simple involve no strain..but have worked to increase body awareness and movement habits as well as balancing the muscles to work to keep one upright and using all muscle systems. Any system that doesn’t recognize the soma.,or the body as it is aware of itself, will never be effective.. truly profound..check it out online.

Bill Story
March 12, 2019

Does anyone have study evidence that you can actually lengthen a muscle with any stretching routine. I have not seen any.

March 12, 2019

Just watch how your pet cat stretches periodically during the day is a lot to be learned from our animal friends

March 12, 2019

That is how yoga developed, or so I read. After sitting meditations, one needed to change position. People watched how animals stretched.

Treadmill Reviews
March 9, 2019

It’s a really unique and informative article. Great work! Much appreciated, keep posting many more…. I added it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back in the near future

Jim Kocjancic
March 8, 2019

Great article. A few years ago,in my forties, I added stretching to my gym routine. It was probably one of the wisest decisions I made. I am in awe at looking at others my age and their deterioration as we should be hitting our stride in our fifties.
My best,

Vik K.
March 8, 2019

No area of exercise science is as poorly understood and studied and as full of gaps as the “science” of stretching. Not only does stretching not prevent injury (a persistent myth amongst athletes, coaches, and the owners of stretching studios), there is zero evidence of its contribution to lowering morbidity or mortality. It is truly an optional element in a physical training program IF a person sticks to key basic principles: know how to warm up for activity; work opposing muscle groups (i.e., if you bench press for chest work, you must also exercise the upper and middle back); and, find and use mobility exercises that allow you to move all your joints through as complete a range of motion as possible.

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Stretching: 35 exercises to improve flexibility and reduce pain

Stretching is an excellent thing you can do for your health. These simple, yet effective moves can help you limber up for sports, improve your balance and prevent falls, increase your flexibility, and even help relieve arthritis, back, and knee pain. Whether you're an armchair athlete or a sports enthusiast, this Special Health Report, Stretching: 35 exercises to improve flexibility and reduce pain, from the experts at Harvard Medical School will show you how to create effective stretching routines that meet your needs and ability.

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