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Stretching: An Integral Part of Your Fitness Routine

Many individuals who participate in aerobic activity do so to improve their cardiovascular endurance and to burn calories. Many also train to develop strength and build lean muscle tissue. Unfortunately, flexibility training is the one element of the fitness routine that’s often neglected, despite its important contributions to overall function, health and performance. It helps provide greater freedom of movement and improved posture, increases physical and mental relaxation, releases muscle tension and soreness and reduces the risk of injury.

Some individuals are naturally more flexible. Flexibility is strongly influenced by a person’s gender, age, body shape and level of physical activity. As individuals grow older, they tend to lose flexibility, usually as a result of physical inactivity, but also partially because of the again process itself. The less active you are, the less flexible you are likely to be. As with other components of physical fitness, flexibility improves with regular training.

A Self, Simple Approach to Effective Stretching

Before stretching, take a few minutes to warm up, as stretching cold muscles may increase your chances for injury. Begin with a simple, low-intensity warm-up such as walking while swinging your arms in a wide circle. Spend at least 5-10 minutes warming up prior to stretching. The general recommendation for people starting an exercise program is to perform gentle dynamic-type stretches before a workout, and static stretches afterwards.

When Performing A Static Stretch:

The following stretches are easy to implement form anywhere and target the muscles that need lengthening throughout the day.

Side Neck Stretch

Seated Figure Four Stretch

Downward Facing Dog with Chair

Seated Spinal Twist

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