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Flexibility Exercise: Before or After Workout?


When is the best time for me to do my flexibility exercises?  Someone at the gym told me I should always do them after my aerobics class.  Is this true?


Yes.  Although the best timing of flexibility exercises (pre- versus post-exercise) still needs to be more thoroughly researched, performing stretching exercises AFTER your workout appears to provide the most benefits.  Activity done during your workout increases muscle temperature, blood flow and joint lubrication.  This in turn makes the time spent stretching more effective following the workout.

The best approach to your workout routine is to include the following:

  • Start with a Warm-up (perform chosen activity but at a lower intensity, working your way up to desired goal intensity)
  • Work-out activity (aerobics class, etc.)
  • Cool-down phase (slowly decrease intensity to resting state)
  • End session with Stretching exercises

See my previous column entitled "Benefits of Stretching" for specific information on how to stretch.

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Our expert, Dr. Sharon E. Griffin, holds a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in the areas of exercise science/physiology.  She also holds a second M.S. degree in Nutrition and is a licensed nutritionist and an ACSM certified health and fitness instructor.

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