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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:46 pm
Stretching is an important but often overlooked aspect of fitness. In fact, you may work out regularly but never stretch. You should stretch both before and after a workout to keep muscles flexible and reduce your chance for injury. It's best to warm up for a few minutes before you stretch, so that your muscles are warm and and less likely to be injured while stretching. You'll want to stretch each muscle group slowly, holding each stretch for about 30 seconds. After your workout, you should spend at least five minutes stretching the muscles that you worked. Again, slow and gentle is the best way to stretch. If your muscles are sore a day or two after your workout, continue to stretch them gently every day until your next workout. Some soreness is expected when you begin, so be patient and take it easy. You may want to take an aspirin or a warm bath to help ease initial soreness. If you've injured a joint or your back, it's best to talk to your chiropractor before stretching.

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