How often should I stretch?

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"Master Amy, how often should I be stretching?" I get this question often for all ages of students.

To be honest, everyday for about 10mins will not only gradually improve your body's condition but will boost your energy too!

The main reason we encourage stretching especially prior to class is to prevent injury. When we stretch, we are controlling our breathing and awakening our muscles to prepare them for practice. Stretching at least 15-30 mins prior to training is ideal so that you can give your body plenty of time. Stretching naturally will help to increase overall reach and flexibility. This way you can extend those roundhouse kicks high. When we stretch properly, we also help increase blood circulation and relieve any tension that may have built up with our muscles. Posture improvement can come from stretching as well as relieving stress. Many students don't know this however, doing a cool down stretch at the end of your workout or class is also very beneficial. You will typically be able to reach further at this time of stretching because your body is warm and active. 

It's important to remember that stretching with proper form is key. Rather than bouncing up and down, it is more effective to hold the stretch and take deep breaths. As you exhale, you will notice your body reaching deeper into the stretch. If while you are stretching you feel discomfort/pain, you should listen to your body and not over-stretch so that you don't cause injury.

Stretching is a great way to improve your performance overall so get started on your stretching because the sooner, the better. 

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