How much time do you have?
I hope you've enjoyed the last two posts about flexibility. If you missed them you can catch them here and here.
One of the most common questions I get about flexibility is…
How long should I stretch for?
Well, this depends.
Take a Yin yoga class. Have you tried one before?
You are holding a posture up to 5 minutes! Although I don't recommend holding a stretch for that long, there is a rationale and purpose to why Yin yoga has such long holds. That's something to explain another day.
A number of research studies have investigated stretching duration on increasing flexibility.
Any guesses what the time commitment is?
Most evidence based guidelines suggest holding a stretch for 10-30 seconds.
During the initial 10-15 seconds of a stretch, only the muscle belly is being stretch (read: muscle fibers). As the stretch continues up to 30 seconds, the tendons, ligaments and fascia become involved in the stretch.
So do you have 30 seconds?
Since tendons, ligaments and fascia are a large component of joint range of motion and flexibility, holding a stretch for 30 seconds is ideal!
Is more better?
I knew you would ask!
Researchers, looking specifically at the hamstring muscle group (back of the thigh), found no significant difference between stretching for 30 seconds and for 60 seconds, indicating that less is more (at least in this muscle group)!
There you have it.
Take 30 seconds of the 86400 seconds in the day to stretch. Or maybe stretch more than one joint of your body to reap the benefits of stretching!
Need some help with this? I'd be honoured to work with you one on one to help you improve your flexibility, move better and move more often!
Stay well and happy moving,
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