Guidelines for a Stretching Program
- Explain the stretching process and its benefits.
- Perform in a slow, controlled manner.
- Gradually increase range of motion.
- Demonstrate and post photos.
- Stretch frequently (before, during, and after cardiovascular and strength exercises).
- Hold each stretch for 15 to 20 seconds.
- Breathe normally (do not hold breath).
- Be aware of any discomfort (some individuals with a brain injury may experience a dampened sense of pain).
- Provide positive feedback.
Problem: For Don, stretching presents a major problem. He has exceptionally poor balance and offers resistance to most types of training. It is very difficult for Don to lie on the floor in order to complete basic flexibility exercises. Because he also often does not allow others to enter his personal space, physical contact, such as assisted stretches, is difficult.
Solution: Finding an individual who has established a solid relationship with Don will be helpful in introducing a fitness plan. Talking about a fitness proposal, including its benefits, time allotments, and content, will allow Don to be at greater ease with the program. Choosing an appropriate site will help Don to be less self-conscious and lower his anxiety. Discussing his expectations and concerns, and allowing him to voice what he would like to achieve, will provide him with a motive for participating. Stretching can be accomplished through assisted stretches with a coach.