5 Top Tips on Stretching for Women

Why, When & How Much

Flexibility is a key component of our ability to do the things we really want to do in life. Many women accept getting stiffer and not being able to do the things they want as an inevitable part of being older. Well that old saying “use it or lose it” has never been more true when it comes to this issue.

Despite there being lots of physiological changes occurring as you get older there is something very simple you can do to maintain your flexibility. You simply need to stretch, yes that’s right a simple stretching routine everyday will help you bend and move more easily. What’s more it has been scientifically proven to improve the range of motion in your joints.

There has been much debate and discussion around stretching. When you should do it, how long to hold etc. etc.

So in an effort to make it simple for you here is my advice and my thoughts after distilling all the research I could find, and reflecting on my own experience.

Stretching for active healthy women over 50

 The latest research is saying that you only need to hold a stretch for 30 seconds and that any longer does not give you any more advantage. Great news for those of us who are a little time poor.

  1. Warm up first, there is good evidence to suggest that if you are warmed up you will stretch better. Attempting to stretch muscles that are not warm is more likely to result in injury especially for older women. Before you ask, yes you should stretch after walking as well. I’m not just talking about high energy activity you should stretch even after gentle exercise.
  2. Getting into the habit of going through a stretching routine after your workout allows you to check in with specific parts of your body to see if there are any tight or sore spots. You can use this information to adapt your training program, and to make sure you focus your recovery on these areas e.g. Self-massage using rollers or balls.
  3. If you haven’t just been exercising then 5 minutes of activity to warm up your muscles and joints will do the trick as well. That could be 5 minutes of skipping, jogging on the spot or high knees. Even a quick walk around your house or yard will do the trick
  4. If you want a good all over stretch and want to build your strength and fitness then Yoga is a great addition to any woman’s training program. It not only helps you relax and get stronger it gives your body a really good stretching workout.
  5. If you are feeling stiff and sore from working out, or just working too hard in the garden a hot bath with Magnesium salts will also make a big difference. The hot water promotes an increased blood supply to your muscles and helps to get rid of the by-products of doing too much.

I've created a short and very quick stretching routine here that you can use everyday. Of course it is better if you can do a full routine, and there is on in my book, but even this little one will soon have you timing your shoelaces up more easily.

If You want more great advice, including a more comprehensive stretching routine  why not buy my book.