Ignoring stretching during a workout is easy, the aches and pains afterwards, not so much. Stretching properly is important and may improve your workouts and your flexibility.

During a stretch, remember to breathe. Take a deep breath and exhale slowly as you stretch each muscle. Breathing deeply relaxes us for a much better stretch. Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Then relax and repeat 2 to 4 more times.

“No pain no gain” does not apply to stretching or exercise in general. If you feel pain during a stretch, back off. Never bounce in any of your stretches. It’s less effective and may cause injury.

 Before a stretch make sure you warm-up. Stretching a cold muscle can lead to injury before the workout even begins. You can slowly run in place or take a brisk walk to get those muscles working. Get at least 5 minutes or more of warm up depending on your fitness level, and you’ll be ready to stretch it out.

Key points:

  • Take deep breaths while stretching
  • You should not feel pain while stretching
  • Make sure to warm up before you stretch


The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs and to determine whether making a lifestyle change or decision based on this information is appropriate for you. Some treatments mentioned may not be covered by your health plan. Please refer to your benefit plan documents for information about coverage.