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Health Tip: The Importance of Stretching

It can prevent injury during exercise

(HealthDayNews) -- A good dose of stretching should precede and follow just about any exercise routine, the American Council on Exercise says.

Stretching -- formally called flexibility training -- allows greater freedom of movement and improved posture, increases physical and mental relaxation, releases muscle tension and soreness, and reduces risk of injury.

Before stretching, take a few minutes to warm up, as stretching cold muscles can cause injury. When performing any stretch, start slowly, exhaling as you gently stretch the muscle. Try to hold each stretch for 10 to 30 seconds, and be sure not to hold your breath.

Ideally, spend at least 30 minutes, three times per week on flexibility training, the council suggests.

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