Do You Need to Stretch at All?
It’s a good idea, says the American College of Sports Medicine. The ACSM recommends stretching each of the major muscle groups at least two times a week for 60 seconds per exercise.
Staying flexible as you age is a good idea. It helps you move better.
For example, regular stretching can help keep your hips and hamstrings flexible later in life, says Lynn Millar, PhD. She’s a physical therapist and professor at Winston-Salem State University.
If your posture or activities are a problem, make it a habit to stretch those muscles regularly. If you have back pain from sitting at a desk all day, stretches that reverse that posture could help.
Simple Back Stretch
Exercise physiologist Mike Bracko recommends doing the “Standing Cat-Camel” as a work-related back stretch. Here’s how:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees bent slightly.
- Lean forward, placing your hands just above your knees.
- Round your back so that your chest is closed and your shoulders are curved forward.
- Then arch your back so that your chest opens and your shoulders roll back.
- Repeat several times.
If your job keeps you in the same position all day, Bracko suggests doing 2-minute stretch breaks to reverse that posture at least every hour.