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January 09, 2018 06:53 PM

Don't Forget To Stretch

We all know the health benefits of getting to the gym and exercising, but there's one thing you may want to do first.

Stretching is often overlooked, but it's just as important as the workout itself. After tearing her hamstring a few years ago, Karen Heiling made it a priority. 

"I've kind of concentrated working on stretching that before working out to make sure that I don't re-injure that again, and sometimes it does get tighter," Heiling said. 

Heiling stretches with her personal trainer Brendan Harberts before every workout.
But she says there are other places you can stretch outside the gym as well. 

"Quick and easy. A lot of times I do it before I go to bed at night because I wake up with some stiffness, and then it helps prevent some of that stiffness," Heiling said. 

To keep your muscles from tightening up, trainers say you should even get a stretch in on your days off.

Harberts says all it takes is about 10 minutes of stretching to help warm up your muscles.

"A lot of newcomers, when they start in the gym, which is great, they don't know the importance of stretching prior to working out and they'll be really sore the next day or wonder why they can't function as well the next day so it's really important to make sure your body is warmed up," Harberts said. 

In addition to stretching, doing some light cardio can also be a useful step in avoiding injuries and warming up. 

"A light walk or a light bike ride is also a good warm up too," Harberts said.

If you're unsure of what stretches you should be doing or how to warm up, don't hesitate to ask for help. 

"As a trainer we love being asked for what stretches to do or how to warm up because being safe in our gyms is important for anyone who comes in our gyms," Harberts said. 

For information on how to stretch correctly, read this article on WebMD
 

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