Being more physically active can help you feel better, deal with stress more easily, and handle day-to-day activities more comfortably. To get the best results, it's important to understand how to exercise safely so you don't injure yourself.
Stretching and reaching activities help promote safe and healthy joints and muscles. Here are some precautions to keep in mind when you're doing activities that involve stretching and reaching, like yoga, gardening, Pilates (an exercise method designed to improve flexibility and strength, and create balance in the body) or Tai Chi (a Chinese system of slow physical exercise designed for relaxation, balance, flexibility and muscle strength).
- Use correct stretching techniques and try to move smoothly. Ask an exercise professional if you're not sure.
- Don't force a joint beyond a comfortable range of motion.
- Do a brief warm-up before stretching, like a light walk.
- Stretch in a slow and relaxed way.
- Avoid bouncing or jerking.
- Stretch to the point of tightness, but avoid extreme discomfort.
- Remember to continue to breathe normally. Don’t hold your breath.
Last Reviewed: December 2016
© 2016 Province of British Columbia. All rights reserved. May be reproduced in its entirety provided the source is acknowledged. This information is not meant to replace advice from your medical doctor or individual counselling with a health professional. It is intended for educational and informational purposes only.