How Long Should a Stretching Routine Take?

 I realize stretching every day may sound like a chore, but keep in mind that your routines dont have to be long. Even stretching for just 5 minutes a day can provide dramatic benefits to your quality of life and joint health. And your stretching routine doesn't have to work every major joint every day. If you're doing a lower body workout, just do a lower body stretching routine that day; if it's an upper body day, just do a few upper body stretches.

If you've got some extra time to spare, go through a full-body routine where you're stretching the major joints and muscles of the body namely, the hips (glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps), knees (hamstrings, quadriceps), shoulders (deltoids, pecs/chest, and upper back), elbows (biceps, triceps), and torso (core muscles). This type of routine can be completed in as little as 15 minutes.

How Long to Hold Each Stretch

 A good rule of thumb is to hold each static stretch for at least 30 seconds. Some stretching routines like yoga call for even longer holds, upwards of one to two minutes (or more). However, if you're just starting out and feeling a lot of discomfort when stretching, ease your way into it with shorter 5-10-second stretches and progress to longer holds as your muscles adapt to the routine and the pain and discomfort subside. If you're only able to hold stretches for short periods, do multiple sets of stretches where you hold for 5 to 10 seconds, rest as long as needed, and then repeat for 3 to 5 sets. Its always best to start with short holds and work your way up.

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