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Stretching and Its Importance

Stretching

Stretching is important as you age and should be an important part of your exercise routine.  Staying flexible helps you move better, assists in maintaining good posture and can prevent injury.  The American Academy of Sports Medicine recommends stretching each major muscle group twice a week.

If you exercise regularly you should stretch before and after every workout.  Prior to exercise you should do some Dynamic Flexibility activities and after a Static Stretching routine.  Studies have shown static stretching prior to a work out can limit your power and strength output whereas dynamic flexibility is a good warm up to prepare your body for activity.

Dynamic flexibility is defined as stretching that involves motion.  Examples of this would be walking knee hugs, leg swings, or walking lunges.    By performing slow controlled movements through full range of motion prior to activity, a person reduces risk of injury.  Static stretching involves no motion where you hold a specific position to improve the muscles length.  Stretching the muscle until gentle tension is felt and then holding the stretch for thirty seconds or until feeling a muscle release.

Below is an example of a post activity static stretching routine.  Each position should be held for a minimum of 30 sec.

Stretching