Remember back in elementary school when your gym teacher told you to stretch before you play. There’s a reason for that. Stretching is critical to performance and safety.

According to Thomas Buehler, Certified Athletic Trainer with CHI Health, stretching is necessary to safely and effectively participate in athletics. Stretching reduces the risk of acute muscular injury as well as decreases the chance of developing chronic injuries such as tendinitis, tendinosis and joint pain.

So how often should you stretch and how long should you hold each stretch?
Athletes should stretch before and after practice and competition. Teams should allow 10-15 for a warm-up and stretch.

The best way to stretch is to participate in an active warm-up like jogging, biking, or using a heat pack, and then stretch each major muscle group. Stretches for each muscle should be held for 10-15 seconds for 3-5 repetitions.

There are a number of stretches for some of the most commonly seen injuries in athletics. When done safely on a regular basis, they help athletes avoid injuries.

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