STRETCHING IT

Q: I know I should be stretching because I’m so inflexible — I’ve never been able to touch my toes. From sitting and traveling so much, I feel stiff as a board. Do you have any recommendations? — R.K., Los Angeles
A:
In addition to added flexibility, stretching increases blood flow, strength, and posture. But first, realize that stretching can also put major stress on your muscles and tendons. What this means is that you should stretch only to your personal limit, not beyond. When you stretch always make sure to breathe and relax; don’t bounce. Stop the motion the moment you feel the stretch. Hold it anywhere from two to 10 seconds and repeat each stretch three to five times. Most people do a few toe touches and think they are good to go. I recommend that you develop a routine and stretch the entire body from your neck down to your toes. I will address airplane-specific stretches in my next column.