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Tips to To Stretch Safely

# Start gently. When you’re first starting out, you may not be able to stretch your joints very far. Don’t push it or you may end up damaging your tendons, ligaments or muscles

# Stay gentle. The American College of Sports Medicine notes that the “no pain, no gain” method of stretching may destabilize your joints. Try a gentle stretch of the muscles you use for 10 to 30 seconds. If it hurts, there’s a reason.

# Match stretches to exercise. If you’re an avid dancer, make sure that your legs and ankles have been gently stretched; if you lift weights, stretch your arms and legs.

# Accommodate your history. If you’ve had a previous injury, make sure that your stretches accommodate rather than exacerbate it. Your doctor or a sports medicine practitioner can help you to finding the right stretches and will often have handouts showing you how to perform them.

Remember, before starting any exercise program, you should consult with your health care practitioner to tailor it to your needs, particularly if you are 40, have existing health issues or a prior significant injury, or have suffered in the past from heart disease or stroke.