Slide show: A guide to basic stretches
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Previous Next 1 of 10 Stretching safely

Stretching can be a key part of your exercise regimen. Stretching may increase flexibility and improve the range of motion of your joints.

Before stretching, warm up with five to 10 minutes of light activity. Better yet, reserve stretching for after a workout. Keep stretching gentle. Don't bounce. If you feel pain, you've stretched too far.

Hold a stretch for about 30 seconds, then switch sides and repeat. If you have a problem area or the stretch is particularly helpful for pain or discomfort, you may benefit from repeating the stretch.

If you have any health conditions or injuries, talk to your doctor or physical therapist about which stretches are right for you.

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