Who has time for stretching? These days we barely have time to get in a good workout. Stretching is one of those things we often choose to skip, myself included. As we get older and start to notice more aches and pains we often see why stretching is so important and how it helps us feel so much better. Remember in grade school when we all stood in a circle and counted to 10 for each stretch? Great group activity but what were we actually doing? We were putting some pull and stretch to our muscles and bringing blood flow to the areas but no actual permanent muscle change is ocurring with this type of stretching. You need to hold a stretch for AT LEAST 30 SECONDS to permanently make changes in the length of your muscle fibers, 60 seconds is more ideal if you have the time. You want to feel a good strong pull but not push into pain…..especially if it is sharp. You need to perform a stretch at least 3-5 times per week to improve mobility and everyday if your trying to work on a trouble spot. Sometimes your Physical Therapist will even have you do a certain stretch up to 3 times per day. And always remember to stretch each side of the body, not just your problem side. Start small and challenge yourself with Yoga or Pilates first to learn how to breathe and how stretching should feel. Check out popular free classes like Yoga with Adriene or Yoga with Kassandra .