Transform Your Health with a 5 Minute Stretching Routine

One of the many workout areas in Lakes Park, Fort Myers, Florida. Photo Courtesy of Charly Caldwell II.

Classes such as Yoga and Pilates are fantastic because they incorporate strength and stretching into each pose.

Our lifestyles involve more sitting than ever.

The less we move, the tighter our muscles become, and as a result, many people suffer from pain and dysfunction, commonly associated with office based work and a generally sedentary lifestyle.

Often those in pain turn to physical therapy and massage which offers much needed relief, until old patterns begin to repeat themselves again and the pain or muscle tension inevitably returns.

Enter your daily stretching routine!

Stretching is a cost free, self-empowering, time efficient and simple way to maintain healthy muscles.

A comprehensive five-minute stretching routine could potentially change posture, reduce pain, promote tissue repair, lubricate stiff joints and improve training recovery.

The physical benefits of safe stretching are undeniable and are too often ignored by people seeking quick fixes.

Alongside all of these benefits, a five-minute stretching routine could also offer all of the psychological benefits of meditation including improving mental health and lowering stress levels.

Simply by focusing on the breath, stretching routines can allow an individual to escape the chaos of their day for a small period of time which is in itself a meditative practice.

Where time permits, a more thorough stretch routine should be incorporated into any weekly workout schedule.

Classes such as yoga and Pilates are fantastic because they incorporate strength and stretching into each pose.

One professional class per week combined with a daily five-minute practice is enough to create major transformations.

Be sure to plan ahead to stay on top of fitness, especially during holidays & travel!

However, where there is discomfort there is often avoidance.

It is important to acknowledge when pursuing a new routine, that it may not be easy. It may be uncomfortable, you may shake a little and you most likely will sweat.

The body is simply not used to this new way of moving.

Nonetheless, as the old adage says ‘changes are not made in your comfort zone.’

Be patient and be consistent and the stretch will eventually transform into an enjoyable opening of the body.

Remember joint pain is never OK in stretching.

If anything hurts the knee, hip, or shoulder joint, back off the tension.

For the best success, remember these simple tips when practicing any stretching routine:

Stretching should never hurt.
Be gentle with your body.

All stretching incorporates controlled breathing patterns to help release tension. Breathing in for a count of 3 and out for a count 3. Breathe through the nose if possible.

Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and stretch both sides of the body equally.

Stretch when your muscles are warm, pliable and most receptive to stretching.
The best times are after exercise, a bath or a hot shower.

Be consistent!
As with any exercise, consistency is the key to success. Stretching every day for as little as five minutes for 1 month will drastically impact your overall fitness, general well being and promote pain free range of motion.

Happy stretching!

Angie Ferguson is an exercise physiologist and Tony Robbins Results Coach from Fort Myers. She also is a Corrective Biomechanics Specialist, USA Triathlon Advanced Level 2 coach, USA Cycling coach, has a Specialty in Sports Nutrition certification, and a PhD in results!

Contact her, or find out more about her monthly online program, at:!


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