I have written often on the benefits of a good stretching program. But there are a few things to be aware while stretching so that you avoid getting injured. Like all forms of movement it is necessary to have the correct form. Performing the stretch with poor technique can cause a muscle pull or injure a joint or disk.
1. Always warm up.
It is not a good idea to start static or ballistic stretching when not warmed up. Prior to stretching, I recommend jogging in place, jumping jacks or anything that will raise the heart rate and warm up the body. Another option is to do a dynamic warm up. For example, perform a lunge with a twist.
I like to think about the muscles as clay. When the clay is cold it can not be molded. When the clay is warm it is able be moved around and shaped. So if one is trying to stretch while cold there is a chance that a muscle is not ready to be stretched, increasing the risk of injury.
2. Never stretch to the point of pain. Stretch to the point where you feel some tension in the muscle but no pain.
3. Breathe during the stretch
Do not hold your breath while stretching. During a stretching session, use your full lung capacity and breathe slowly and deeply. You should be aware of your breathing as it has a calming effect. Inhale for 5 seconds and fill the torso up with air, then exhale from the lower abdomen for 5 seconds, pressing the navel in towards the spine. Imagine all of your tension and stress leaving your body with each exhalation.
4. Be aware of your posture
Stretching in poor posture can cause an injury.
5.Learn the contraindications to stetching with osteoporosis.
For example,if your have osteoporosis make sure not to perform forward bends.