When is the best time to stretch?

When is the best time to stretch?

When is the best time to stretch?  I get asked this question a lot from my patients.  Although the answer may vary slightly from patient to patient, the best answer is: Stretch whenever you can.

In reality our nation does not stretch nearly enough.  A lot of chronic back issues can be greatly improved if a regular stretch routine would be implemented.  Here are some tips about stretching:

  1. Light stretch in the morning – don’t stretch first thing in the morning.  Give your body a chance to wake up and let the blood start flowing through your system first.  Usually 30 minutes after you wake up, possibly even after a hot shower would be a good time to stretch.
  2. Before a workout – If you like to stretch before working out I would suggest a dynamic 2-3 second stretch.  5 minutes on the bike would be better than the stretch, but for some, old habits are hard to break.
  3. After a workout – this is one of the most important times to stretch.  Your muscles are filled with blood and they are warm and ready to go.  I would suggest a 30 second stretch after your workout to have lasting elastic changes in your muscles.
  4. Right before bed – I find this to be the most convenient time to stretch.  I recommend to my patients that they have a small glass or water with a nightly stretch routine.  This is a great way to reduce tension before laying down for the night.

Obviously we all run on different schedules so our stretching routines will vary from one person to the next, but as mentioned before – just make sure to stretch at some point throughout the day.  This will help your body tremendously in the long run.


Dr Spencer Charlet
Chiropractor in Mooresville, NC