Stretching used to be considered the main activity before a workout. That has all changed now. Stretching is still a beneficial activity prior to working out, but only after you have sufficiently warmed up. The reason for this is that stretching cold muscles can directly contribute to pulled and torn muscles. It's also now known that stretching is important after a workout as well. Stretching properly may reduce muscle injuries and provide benefits like increased flexibility and joint range of motion, correct exercise posture and relaxed muscles.
1. Maintain each stretch for 10-30 seconds. Holding a stretch for any less won't sufficiently lengthen the muscle. Stretch the muscles gradually and don't force it. Avoid bobbing or bouncing while stretching for this may damage the muscle you are stretching.
2. Practice equality. Make sure you stretch both sides equally, so all of your muscles are evenly ready for action.
3. Stop if it hurts. If you have reached a point in your stretch where it hurts, relax to where it feels comfortable and hold the stretch.
4. Remember to breathe. Breathing is a necessary part of any workout, including stretching.
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