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Posted on 11-14-2012

There are many reasons for stretching including improving flexibility, minimizing the possibility of injuries, and reducing pain. Whether you are lifting weights, doing aerobics, playing sports, or just being a weekend warrior, stretching is always a good idea. However, most people forget to stretch afterwards. Stretching before the activity helps to warm up your muscles to avoid injuries, but when do you feel more tight, before or after the activity? I guarantee after you run a long distance, you’re legs will feel more tight afterward. Therefore, you will improve your flexibility and get more of a benefit by stretching after exercise. Also, when you stretch, hold each stretch for a minimum of fifteen seconds. An 8 or 10 second stretch will not help much. If you want to hold it longer, go for it. Just don’t bounce to get farther. One last tip…To get an even better stretch, contract the antagonist/opposite muscle. For example, if you bend forward and reach for your toes to stretch your hamstrings, contract your quadriceps muscles on the front of your leg at the same time. Neurologically, this turns off the opposite muscle and you will get a better stretch. So in summary, stretch before and after exercise, hold each one for at least 15 seconds, and contract the opposite muscle group during the stretch.

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