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The Best Time to Stretch

The Best Time to Stretch

Most people agree that stretching is good for your muscles. But should you do it before or after exercise? When are you likely to reap the most benefits?

Fitness guru Tina Vindum provides a good rule of thumb in her book, Outdoor Fitness. "If something feels tight during your warm up, stretch it. Outside of that, you should stretch after workouts when muscles are warm," Vindum writes.

Stretch Safely
Stretching after a workout is "the most productive and safest time because the muscles are warm and pliable," says Vindum. She believes in stretching major muscle groups only after they've warmed up. And preferably while your heart rate is still elevated from exercise. Need a warm-up idea? Check out these reasons to act like a kid by jumping rope.

Here are three other tips from Vindum on maximizing your stretching power:

Medically reviewed in December 2019.

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