Squeezing in time for a workout can be challenging, so much so that your warm-up or cool-down may be left out completely. This is not as uncommon as one may think. Unfortunately, many just skip the warm-up or cool-down and never stretch their muscles. Whether running, weight lifting, or your favorite dance aerobics class, giving your muscles the opportunity to stretch before and, especially, after your workout is worth the time.
The benefits to such stretching is that it improves blood flow, increases flexibility, and helps to decrease risk of injury. To gain the benefits of stretching, it is important that your stretching and warm-up be done properly and at the appropriate time. Here are some guidelines to follow.