How often should you stretch? Stretching can be one of the most beneficial things you do all day to help maintain flexibility in your body. You can stretch 3-20 times a day, just as long as you are maintaining a light to medium intensity and holding the stretches for 40-60 seconds. There is a point of “overstretching” but that usually happens when you stretch for longer than 20 minutes in one setting or when you stretch too intensely.
One of the best things I can recommend is to stretch when you begin to feel tightness in a particular area of the body. For example, if you are sitting for an hour and your lower back and legs start to feel tight, immediately start stretching your hamstrings, gluts, quads and calves. Don’t wait for the perfect time to stretch, learn to do simple stretches wherever you are.
Another example would be if you go grocery shopping and you carry heavy bags multiple times from your car to your house. After you bring the bags in, it is advisable to stop and stretch your pecs and biceps because those are the muscles that will tighten the most in the carrying motion.
Whenever you are doing repetitive activities, make sure you stretch throughout the activity. An example would be walking for weight loss or for heart health. If you walk a few times a day for 20 or more minutes, make sure you stretch at the half way point and again at the end. Stretching will help those muscles stay at their appropriate length and will allow those muscles to perform at their best.
Stretching does not need to be something you do for a long time. Rather if you do each stretch for 40-60 seconds and you are stretching the muscles that were the most active during your activity, it should only take between 3 and 10 minutes. Again if you stretch the muscles that you feel are the tightest, it should be easy to do and you can do those stretches anywhere.