Stretchingenteens may have heard mixed things about stretching before working out. Here are the cold, hard facts on warming up, stretching, and cooling down.warm up, warm-up, warming up before a workout, warming up before exercising, warmup, cool down, cooldown, cooling down, muscles, muscle injury, muscle damage, sprain, strain, proper stretching, right way to stretch, flexible, flexibility09/06/200609/28/201809/28/2018Mary L. Gavin, MD09/24/2018a43b4d2c-2505-4d43-a9a7-feb8cc13cb14<p>A balanced exercise routine includes aerobic activity, <a href="">strength training</a>, and stretching. Stretching not only feels good, but may help prevent muscle injuries.</p> <h3>Warming Up</h3> <p>It's important to warm up your body before any physical activity. Warming up for about 5–10 minutes goes a long way toward preparing the body for exercise.</p> <p>Warming up:</p> <ul> <li>increases your heart rate and respiratory rate</li> <li>increases muscle temperature</li> <li>boosts the amount of blood and oxygen delivered to your muscles</li> <li>prepares the body for a workout</li> </ul> <p>A warm-up can even be the activity you are about to do but at a slower pace. For example, if you're about to go for a <a href="">run</a>, warm up with walking or a light jog. If you're going to go for a <a href="">swim</a>, do a couple of slow warm-up laps. If you play a sport, focus on the muscles that are used for your particular sport. For instance, if you play <a href="">baseball</a>, you might warm up your shoulder with light throwing.</p> <p><a href="">Dynamic stretching</a> uses many muscle groups in a sport specific manner and can be part of your warm-up. Besides warming up the muscles that will be used in the activity, dynamic stretching allows for full range of motion of the joints.</p> <h3>Stretching the Right Way</h3> <p>Stretching used to be considered the main activity before a workout. But traditional, or &quot;static,&quot; stretching may lead to decreased muscle strength and performance, especially if your muscles are not warmed up enough. Stretching cold muscles can lead to injury.</p> <p>To get the most out of warming up and stretching, try dynamic stretches before and static stretching after a workout.</p> <p>Stretching properly may reduce muscle injuries and improve athletic performance. It also increases:</p> <ul> <li>flexibility</li> <li>joint range and motion</li> <li>blood flow to muscles</li> </ul> <p>Here are some tips on how to stretch properly:</p> <p><strong>Stop if it hurts.</strong> Stretching should never hurt. If you have reached a point in your stretch where it hurts, pull back to where you still feel a stretch but can hold the stretch comfortably.</p> <p><strong>Hold each stretch for 10–30 seconds.</strong> Holding a stretch for any less won't sufficiently lengthen the muscle. Holding a stretch too long may overstretch muscles. Overstretching may cause injury and decrease performance. Stretch the muscles slowly and don't force it.</p> <p><strong>Don't bounce.</strong> Bouncing while stretching may injure the muscle you're stretching.</p> <p><strong>Remember to breathe.</strong> Don't hold your breath when you stretch. Inhale slowly and relax into the stretch as you breathe out.</p> <p><strong>Stretch both sides.</strong> You may be more flexible on one side, but try to do equal stretching on both sides. Big differences in flexibility may lead to injury.</p> <p><strong>Stretch regularly.</strong> To maintain flexibility, stretch at least 3 days a week.</p> <h3>Cooling Down</h3> <p>You need to slow down your body after a workout or exercise. Do 5–10 minutes of gentle movement and stretching to help your body recover from a workout.</p> <p>Your cool-down routine should include gentle movement and stretching. Cooling down and stretching at the end of a workout helps you to:</p> <ul> <li>slow your heart rate and breathing</li> <li>reduce the chance of feeling dizzy or lightheaded</li> <li>relax and feel the benefits of your workout</li> </ul> <p>Whether you're new to working out or a lifelong athlete, be sure to include a good before-and-after routine for better performance and recovery.</p>
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kh:age-teenThirteenToNineteenkh:age-youngAdultEighteenPluskh:clinicalDesignation-orthopedicsSportsMedkh:genre-articlekh:primaryClinicalDesignation-gastroenterologyAndNutritionWeightManagementExercise & Fitness Fit & Performance for Teens