Stretching is a key component of any workout and should never be skipped
Stretching following exercise relieves muscle tightness, improves joint and muscle flexibility and cools down the body. After a workout, your body will be more flexible and able to stretch further than it did prior to starting. During this post workout cool-down phase, stretches should be held for a minimum of 20 seconds for benefits to be felt.
Make sure that you breathe normally as you stretch and avoid holding your breath – a common bad habit! Concentrate your effort on the muscle you are stretching, as this helps to increase blood flow to the area. Hold the stretch and avoid bouncing. Ensure that you relax the rest of your body as you stretch.
Stretching prior to exercise warms up your body making it less prone to injuries. However, make sure you start with a light warm-up first, as you shouldn't stretch cold muscles