Stretching - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Tuesday, June 3, 2003

Stretching

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I'm Dr. David Vastola and it's becoming apparent that before we do anything athletic we need to stretch. Why? Because it can prevent injuries. How? It increases muscle so they're full length. It relaxes ligaments and tendons. It also increases blood flow through the muscle and tendons and also lymphatic flow. So therefore, we need to do it. Preventing injuries by stretching only makes sense. But we make mistakes when we stretch. Let me tell you what they are.

The first thing you need to do, before even starting to stretch is to warm up. It's recommended you warm up 10-15 minutes before you start to stretch. So you have three stages: warm up, stretching, then the athletic activity. When you stretch, make sure you stretch to the very end, not through it. If it's painful you've gone too far. And don't bounce in the stretch, you could injure yourself. The most common mistake is not holding a stretch long enough. It has to be held at least 10-15 seconds, and some experts say to hold the stretch for a full minute. Also make sure you know what muscles to stretch, it's very important. If you don't know ask someone who does because you could be stretching the wrong muscles.

Now if you do all that you're going to have a flexible system that's less likely to be injured, you'll be a whole lot healthier and you won't hurt yourself.

And I'm Dr. David Vastola and that's life.

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