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Staying flexible is essential for everyday activities, and stretching regularly is an important step in staying flexible! Stretching keeps your muscles loose and flexible, allowing your body to move easily in its day-to-day activities with a reduced risk of injury.

Stretching has many benefits:

• Improves posture
• Decreases risk of injury
• Reduces muscle soreness after exercise
• Improves the ability to do daily tasks

Though flexibility can decrease as we age, you can improve flexibility through regular stretching.

• Stretch a warm muscle gently and hold for 20-60 seconds.
• Stretching a cold muscle can lead to an injury.
• Breathe during your stretch and do not bounce.
• Be sure to stretch all major muscles, including shoulders, arms, legs, back, and abdominal muscles.
• As you stretch, move all joints slowly and gently through their full range of motion.
• Be sure to stretch after exercising, after sitting for an extended period, and before going to bed.

Maintaining flexibility makes day-to-day activity easier and can increase circulation. Improved flexibility can also help with your balance, something that is important as we get older. Take time in your fitness routine and stretch. Consider yoga poses, which stretch a variety of muscles.