Yes, You Can Stretch Too Much

All of us want to be more flexible. It’s a sign of health and youth, and it’s far more comfortable to have a full range of motion without aches, tension and the other discomforts associated with tight muscles and joints. Naturally, folks, getting into a stretching routine daily is a great way to improve your flexibility, but you can take it too far. Before you try those crazy new stretching poses you saw online, here’s what to know.

It comes with risks even if there is no pain

If you push a joint, such as your hip, past the normal range of motion you have, there is a chance you will damage surrounding tissues, ligaments, discs or other delicate areas of the body–and that’s just over the short term. Over time, over-stretching your joints can place you at a higher risk of developing the changes seen in arthritis. This is because of the additional cartilage wear and tear caused by those movements.

Just as you can eat a candy bar and not feel the effects unless you’re eating multiple bars a day over a period of time, the risks of over-stretching are still present even if you’re not feeling any real pain from those movements. This damage tends to be cumulative. As your ligaments become more relaxed from the excessive stretching, the shifting of your joint surfaces against each other happens more. This can cause muscle pain because your muscles have to work and try to support your joints, and over time, it can lead to joint degeneration.

There are signs

You may be wondering if you are over-stretching right now, and while there is not an exact science to it since everyone’s body is different, there are some red flags to be mindful of. According to the University of Rochester, if you feel a stabbing or sharp pain when you stretch, you are overdoing it ( If you feel sore after you stretch the next day, you probably pushed yourself past your limits and should tone it down.

In general, you probably have some idea whenever you push your body too far while stretching, so just get into the habit of heeding those signs and walking your routine back a bit in response. Stretching too much can lead to injury and even long-term damage, and you don’t want to end up sidelined or with any type of permanent injury in the future.

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