GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – A new year means many of us are embarking on new workouts and setting new fitness goals.

A physical therapist who works for Bon Secours St. Francis said not to forget the importance of stretching as part of your new year’s resolutions.

As you work to conquer your fitness resolutions in this new year, don’t forget to stretch.

“Stretching is really important, not only just to maintain flexibility, but for injury prevention,” Physical Therapist Carley said.

Carley said you should really be stretching every day. For some, throughout the day as well.

“It improves circulation. It’s even been shown to help with anxiety and sometimes stress,” said Carley.

Before a workout, whether it’s something as strenuous as running or just doing housework, you should do an active warm-up.

“Where you’re actively moving. Maybe lifting your arms up overhead or kicking your legs side to side,” said Carley.

Then, after you work out he suggested a more cold static stretch, where you’re holding one position for 20 to 30 seconds.

If stretching is new to you, Carley said to start with these 2 key stretches: hamstring stretches and hip hinges.

“Easiest thing to do is a hamstring stretch. So, you can just be sitting in a chair, and extend one leg out in front of you. Sit up nice and tall. And just hinge at your hips until you feel stretched in the back of your thigh. Hold that for 30 seconds. Maybe do that three times on each leg.”

Another good stretch is for your chest muscles.

“You can take one arm, place it in a doorway, and just lean your body. Keep your posture tall and forward,” Carley said. “That doorway or wall will push your arm back, stretching that through the front of your chest.”

Don’t forget to breathe while you’re stretching.

“It is easy to hold your breath during a stretch, which can drive your blood pressure up. During the stretch, just breathe normally nice, easy, deep breaths,” said Carley.

Carley said it is possible to over-stretch. Slight discomfort with a stretch is okay, but sharp pain is not.

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