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Stretching is a key component of a balanced exercise program. Performing stretching exercises daily can increase flexibility and maintain healthy joints. Regular flexibility exercises can make activities of daily living easier and improve physical activity performance.
Stretching should be performed before and after your exercise session. The flexibility exercises shown here can also be performed as a daily exercise routine. These simple exercises can be performed during commercial breaks of your favorite TV show or after prolonged work at your desk.
You should never experience pain with any stretching exercise. You should only feel a gentle pull in the muscles being stretched. Each stretch should be held between 15 to 30 seconds. You should perform stretching exercises on both sides of the body and your goal should be to move your joints through the full range of motion as determined by your abilities. Do not bounce during any stretch, as this could lead to injury. As you stretch, remember to breathe. Deep relaxation breathing which consists of deep breathing in your nose and long exhalation through your mouth can help to relieve stress and relax your mind and body during your flexibility exercises.