PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Are you somebody who works out on a regular basis? If you are, what do you consider the most important part of your work out?

Certainly you can raise the argument for aerobics and if you are a weightlifter there is a definite advantage to building muscle because when you have muscle it helps burn calories. But if you asked me what may be the most important part of a workout my answer might surprise you.

The older I get the more I realize that regular stretching is a crucial part of the conditioning program. As we get older one of the most common injuries is a pulled muscle. Whether it’s a hamstring or your lower back these injuries can be debilitating.

Regular stretching can dramatically reduce these types of injuries. In today’s world most young athletes are taught to stretch. Coaches have learned the value of strength and flexibility as a combination. But when you are older it is more important to maintain function and avoid unnecessary problems.

All it takes is about 15 min. during your workout to make those changes. I recommend stretching after a few minutes of aerobic exercise to get warm.

Reported By Dr. Brian McDonough, KYW Newsradio Medical Editor

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