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Want to Enjoy Life More? Stretch

To get all of the benefits of physical activity, you need all four types of exercise: endurance, strength, balance and flexibility. Stretching, or flexibility, exercises are an important part of a physical-activity program, especially as you get older. They give you more freedom of movement for your physical activities and for everyday activities such as getting dressed and reaching objects on a shelf. Note: Stretching exercises can improve your flexibility but will not improve your endurance or strength.

You’ll want to talk with your doctor before starting any exercise plan. Your doctor may give you a handout showing recommended stretches, or suggest a local stretching class.

As you begin stretching, slowly stretch into the desired position, as far as possible without pain, and hold the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds. Relax, breathe, then repeat, trying to stretch farther. You can progress in your stretching exercises. For example, as you become more flexible, try reaching farther, but not so far that it hurts.

Source: National Institutes of Health


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