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Finding the Correct Time to Stretch

It is extremely important to schedule the time you need to stretch into your workout. If you have the time to exercise, you should have the time to stretch. As little as three minutes after each workout can make a big difference in your fitness routine. Stretching after a hard workout can help you recover, feel better and even age more gracefully.

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It is important to find the best time to stretch.

You don't need to stretch before you warm up. Many people confuse their warm up with stretching, but studies have shown that stretching is not the correct way to warm up. Dynamic moves like swinging your arms and shaking out your legs to "wake them up" is sufficient before you begin a routine. Why? You need to protect your tissues before you stretch, and in order to do this, you need to raise your pulse to fill them with blood. This blood will give you a nice cushion before you stretch.

Stretch when you're finished, while you are still warm. Think of your muscles like noodles. When they're uncooked (cold), they break easily. When they're cooked and warm, they're loose and move easily. Use this time to stretch, and you'll always be able to stretch more than you ever could cold.

Don't stretch beyond what is moderately comfortable. Stretching should feel good, not hurt. Stretch yourself to a comfortable limit and hold. Breathe deeply, and after 10 seconds you can probably go just a tad deeper.

You'll find that you feel super relaxed after just 1-3 minutes of stretching. You deserve it!

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