Prior to stretching, it is important to warm the body up.  Warm up may be accoplished through five to ten minutes of light cardovascular activity, exagerated movements, or even a brisk walk.  Stretching before the muscles are warmed up can leadto injuries. 

   Stretching prior to and after excercise, is a crucial part of the routine.  There are several key importances that stretching contributes to a excercise routine. 


  • Improves muscle balance around joints
  • Increases range of motion of tissues surounding the muscles and joints
  • Prevents injury
  • Increases blood flow and oxygen throughout the entire body
  • Muscle tone increases
  • Prevents muslce stiffness and cramping
  • Higher flexability
  • Less back pain
  • Better posture
  • Maintains stress levels



There are several factors that should be taken into consideration to ensure safty during excerise activity:

  1. Proper attire and shoes
  2. Minimal jewelry
  3. Hydration
  4. Pace yourself

Suggested Pre-Exercise Foods 1 hour or less before competition or exercise: 

  • Fresh fruit such as apples, watermelon, peaches, grapes, or oranges and/or
  • Energy gels
  • Up to 1 1/2 cups of a sports drink.





Now comes the best part of the whole workout process - the cool down. This is an important time for the body because a cool down:

  • Helps the heart rate and respiration slow down gradually
  • Helps avoid dizziness or fainting, which sometimes happens when exercise is stopped suddenly and blood pools in the legs
  • Allows your muscles time to recover and repair for the next workout
  • Helps your muscles get rid of waste products such as lactic acid
  • Helps you end your workout on a good note

Though the cool down is often the best part, many people skip it because they run out of time or just run out of steam and find they're ready to move on. But allowing yourself this time will help your body recover and this recovery will help you be prepared for the next workout. Take just a few minutes at the end of your workout (particularly your cardio workout) to do the following:

  1. Slow down. Just like your warm up, when you get to the end of your workout, slow down and gradually allow your heart rate to lower.
  2. Continue moving. Give yourself at least five minutes to move around, especially if you've been doing high intensity exercise.
  3. Cool off. Keep moving until you're not sweating anymore and your skin is cool to the touch. Use this time to sip water and rehydrate.
  4. Stretch. Once you've cooled off, this is an excellent time to stretch the muscles you've used during the workout. Stretching can help relax the body and increase flexibility. Make sure you hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds. Some common stretches include:
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