Whether you are an athlete or have an average level of physical activity, I believe stretching should be an integral part of your daily life. Often, young people focus on building muscle and developing aerobic fitness, but flexibility is equally important.

Why Stretch?
Stretching is necessary – it helps keep muscles and fascia flexible, strong and healthy, thus maintaining range of motion in the joints. A short tight muscle is a weak muscle.
For example, young people who are office based or in full-time education sit in a chair for a large part of the day. This tightens the hip flexors and hamstrings making it more difficult to extend the legs and knees fully, which affects walking. Now imagine what could happen when more stress is placed on these muscles by playing tennis or going for a run.

Reasons to stretch include:

Stretching becomes more important as we mature. Learning proper stretching techniques at a young age and making it a habit, means it is more likely to become a lifelong activity.

When Should You Stretch?

How Often?
Daily stretching or a program of stretching three to four times a week is ideal.

Stretching has a cumulative effect. Sporadic stretching won’t magically make you more flexible. It may take weeks or months to restore a muscle that has shortened and tightened over an equally lengthy period, but if you consistently work on it, you will succeed.

How to Stretch?
It is best to warm up with a short aerobic activity before you stretch. A brief 5-10 minute walk or cycle is sufficient to increase blood and oxygen flow making the tissues more pliable and ready for change.

Dos and Don’ts

Is there a Downside?
Yes  –

Important – Stretching for Teens
At puberty, stretching becomes more important as flexibility can reduce markedly during growth spurts. The unequal growth of bone and muscles can result in pain, thus performing daily static stretches during and after growth spurts can ease the severity of the pain.

If a teenager is particularly active, playing a lot of sport, and failing to stretch, the risk of injury from muscle tears (strains or pulls) increases. Dynamic stretches, particularly before a competitive event, helps prevent injury.

Why Mindfulness is Important
The incidence of anxiety, fatigue and depression in the population, but particularly in the young, is increasing. In the ‘Insta Age’ it can all be about how you look but, how you feel may not be so obvious. Chronic stress has many undesirable effects on the body. Regular stretching combined with mindful focus and breathing has been shown to reduce mental tension and decrease anxiety and depression. In my personal experience of teaching bodywork, working in a mindful way is also more effective.

The Nordic Body Kinetic Approach


so that the stability and mobility of the body’s kinetic chain acts as the foundation for functional movement.

Over time this builds