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Stretching Routines
Lots of physical activities build your muscles and strength, but many times other parts of your body are left out. Because stretching can be a full body workout, it can help to check any imbalance in your muscles.

If your body is flexible you will be less likely to get injured.

When you work specifically on increasing your flexibility, wear comfortable clothing that won't get in the way of your stretching. T-shirts, shorts, sweats, and tank tops are all fine, but ditch the jeans.

Take off your shoes, and even your feet can benefit from the stretching!

You may want an exercise mat to use during seated or floor postures. You don't have to go out and purchase one, though, just use a firm pillow or folded up blanket. All you really need is a quiet spot where you won't be distracted. Look for a level area large enough for you to stretch upwards as well as to the sides.

Before beginning your stretching routine, walk around for three or four minutes to make sure your muscles are warmed up. Don't try to go beyond your limits—you could strain your muscles.

You don't have to work out for hours to achieve the benefits of stretching. Practicing just ten to fifteen minutes each day can make a difference. It does help if you wait at least two to three hours after you've eaten. So, set aside a special time each day and relax, release, and rejuvenate!

I'm sure you've heard trainers say this about aerobic workouts, but it's important to remember to breathe while stretching, too! It's a good idea to start with several arm stretches over your head and deep breaths. Inhale when you try upward and expanded movements, and exhale during downward or forward bending motions.

Concentrate on each position—move slowly and with precise control until you feel your muscles tensing and resisting (but not straining).

Please take 5-10 minutes to relax your body at the end of your stretching routine. This will help to prevent sore muscles and is a great way to reduce stress.

If you're feeling stiff or sore afterwards, you've overdone it! If you're just getting into stretching, it's important to start off slowly. Your progress will be gradual, but continuous. With time your body will become more flexible and your muscles more supple.

About The Author:
Kirsten Hawkins is a nutrition and health expert from Nashville, TN. Visit http://www.popular-diets.com/ for more great nutrition, well-being, and vitamin tips as well as reviews and comments on popular diets.

Copyright Kirsten Hawkins - http://www.popular-diets.com