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Stretching 101

Stretching is essential to any workout program. Warming up your muscles before doing any physical activity will help prevent injuries from occurring, as well as improve your performance. However, the stretches that you do are determined by if you are doing them before or after your workout.

Dynamic stretches are best before you begin a workout. This type of stretching includes more active movements where you are continually moving. Hip circles, walking lunges, and walking knee hugs are just a few examples. These will help increase the muscle's temperature and decrease muscle stiffness. Every type of physical activity requires some extent of flexibility. Dynamic stretches are closer to the movements done during the actual workout, so your muscles will be ready to go, reducing the risk of injury.

Static stretches are best after you finish a workout. During this stretching, you will hold one position for a certain amount of time. These can help increase flexibility and cool down your body after a hard workout session. Static stretches will help you maintain range of motion and also reduce the risk of injury once the physical activity is completed.

Stretching is often forgotten, but can easily be one of the most critical parts of an exercise routine. Even taking five extra minutes before or after can make a big difference in injury risk and your performance level.

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