A common saying at Orange Theory Fitness is that ‘you can do anything for 30 seconds.’ Which is mostly true and a great motivator, even though a 30-second all out sprint seems much longer than the following 30 seconds of walking recovery. And surprisingly, 30 seconds of stretching can also last much longer that you would expect.
It wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that I learned that 30 seconds is the MINIMUM amount of time to hold static (or stationary) stretches. In studying to become a personal trainer, I learned that ‘autogenic inhibition’—or the process of your nervous system that allows your muscles to fully lengthen—kicks in around 30 seconds. So if you’re taking the time out of your day to stretch, please make sure you are giving your muscles at least 30 seconds so they can relax and you can get the most out of your precious time.
From personal experience I can tell you that 30 seconds of holding a stretch doesn’t go by all that quickly. You likely need to hold a stretch longer than you think—counting or timing yourself is key. But similar to finishing strong in a sprint, your muscles will thank you for it. You will improve your flexibility, decrease your risk of injury and help correct any muscle imbalances. Not a bad way to spend 30 seconds. 😉