woman-stretching-hams-4576DON’T FORGET TO STRETCH!!! It seems like this very important aspect of working out is the one that most people fail to do. Stretching not only increases your flexibility but; if done properly, can decrease your chance of injury.

Some stretching tips:

– Never stretch a cold muscle! If you are going to stretch prior to your workout, make sure you practice dynamic stretching, which is stretching with slow/controlled movements.  Examples: arm circles, hip rotations, walking kicks, butt kicks, etc…

– Static stretching, which is where you are still and hold the stretch, should only be done AFTER your work out. When doing these types of stretches, be sure to ease into the position and only stretch to mild tension and not past the threshold of pain.  In addition, hold still while stretching and NEVER bounce!!!

– Make sure you hold each stretch for at LEAST 10 seconds and gradually increase the hold over time. Not holding a stretch long enough will do little to increase your flexibility.  Also, as always, be sure to breathe!

– Often, people think that when you pull a muscle or injure yourself, that you should stretch that area. This is NOT the case!  If you’ve sustained a muscle or joint injury because you’ve neglected to incorporate stretching into your workout routine, now is not the time to start stretching. Wait until your injury has healed, then start stretching.

Next time you work out- try to work at least 5-10 minutes of non-negotiable time into your routine for stretching so that you don’t run out of time and skip this VERY important step to overall fitness!

The cool thing about doing one of the Beachbody Programs is that each workout already has the stretching component built right into it!