PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Do you take the time to warm up and stretch? It doesn’t matter how old you are. Stretching can be one of the most important activities of your workout experience.

Let me start with the reason that will have the most immediate impact for you. Stretching will help you compete effectively because your body will be ready to take on the various demands of your sport. But the most important reason to stretch is to prevent injury. If you talk to athletes who sustain tear injuries (not the kind from trauma or impact), you will find that a significant percentage are because the muscles and ligaments are tight. They can tear or rupture far easier.

The key to stretching is to warm up lightly for a few minutes. Also resist the temptation to bounce during stretching. That can also lead to problems.

Reported By Dr. Brian McDonough, KYW Newsradio Medical Editor

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