Stretching exercises Exercise

You can include stretching exercises in your activity/exercise programme. It is easier and safer to do your stretches when your muscles and joints are warm. Good times to do stretches would be once you have been active or after a bath or shower.
  • It is important to have good muscle length and range of movement for day-to-day activities. For example, having enough range in your shoulder joint will help for washing and dressing activities.
  • A number of very rare neuromuscular conditions involve tightness/contractures of the spine or other joints. In this case, the goal of these activities would be to keep the flexibility you have, rather than gain more.
  •  Please take care that you do not over-stretch weak muscles or joints that are already very mobile.
  •  If any particular muscles or joints are stiff, you may need a more focused stretching programme. Speak to your physiotherapist, who can advise you which muscles or joints it would be good for you to stretch.
  •  Activities such as gentle yoga and Pilates can be effective. These exercises and any stretches can be adapted so you do them in the best position for you. (Please see FAQs and useful links)
  •  If you are too weak to do your own stretches, you can do them with help from a family member or your carer. (Please see FAQs and useful links)

How often should I do stretches and how long should each session last?

  •  Stretches are more effective when you do them regularly.
  •  Include them in your daily tasks, such as doing stretches for your calf muscles while brushing your teeth.
  •  Try to hold each stretch for 30-40 seconds.
  •  The stretch should be slow and sustained, with no bouncing.

In summary:

What type of activity/ exercise? How often? How hard? How long? What do I need to be careful of?


For example, stretches (lying, seated or standing), Pilates or yoga. Static or passive stretch.

Try to do this as part of your daily routine or at least two/three times a week.

Stretching sensation but no pain.*

30- to 40- second holds. Repeat two to four times Do not ‘bounce’.

If you have impaired or absent feeling or no appreciation of pain.

*Take extra care with any of the above if you have altered sensation, very weak muscles or poor balance.