Long COVID Self-Management - Stretching Exercises
Stretching is important to keep your muscles strong and flexible and to maintain your range of motion in the joints. If you do not stretch, your muscles can become shortened and tight. When you try to do activity, your muscles are not able to extend fully and are weak in this range.
Stretching is also a great way to cool down your muscles after strength training or aerobic activity. It is important that you hold each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds in order for muscles to lengthen. Instead of counting this out, it would be more beneficial to incorporate your breathing and hold your stretches for two to three slow deep breaths.
If you have issues with balance or dizziness, you should sit for your exercise program.
Suggestions to Consider When Stretching
- Keep good posture throughout each exercise.
- Stretch only to the point where you feel a gentle tug or pull in your muscle.
- Start with one to two repetitions on each side and progress gradually to five repetitions.
- Hold your stretches for two to three slow deep breaths (pursed lip).
Chin to Chest Stretch
- Sit in a firm chair.
- Bend your head forward.
- Hold for at least 15 seconds.
- Repeat two to four times.
Chin to Chest Diagonal
- Turn your head slightly toward the direction you will be stretching and tilt your head diagonally toward your chest and hold for at least 15 seconds.
- If you would like a little added stretch, use your hand to gently and steadily pull your head forward on the diagonal.
- Repeat two to four times on each side.