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Warm up and cool down stretches

5th September 2018

Exercise is a key part of being healthier and happier for longer but before and after any exercise, it’s important to prepare our bodies for the challenge to come.

One popular way to do this is with stretches.

Here are a few hints and tips about warm up and cool down stretches:

1)      The importance of stretches

Stretches keep muscles and joints both strong as well as flexible.

Before a workout, stretches are used to prepare various parts of the body for the strenuous activity ahead. They ease tension and allow the body to move at its fullest potential, as well as minimising risk of injury.

Post-workout stretches are used in exactly the same way but are designed to ease the body back into its usual rhythm and to help ease out any tension that has built up during the workout.

2)     Different types of stretches

There are many different stretching techniques to try and it’s best to start simple and work your way up to more advanced stretches.

Take a look at our video which gives you some ideas of pre and post-run stretches

3)     Breathing during stretches

Stretches are designed to ease muscle tension but if the body isn’t taking in the right amount of oxygen, you might struggle to feel the full effect.

Always remember: Breathe in before the stretch, exhale as you execute the stretch.

4)     Stretches for relaxation

When it comes to the cool-down period, stretching can not only offer a level of physical relief but psychological relief too.

Stretching is a fantastic way to relax and release the build-up of any tension you have.

A good example of a cool-down stretch is to clasp your hands behind your back and raise them as high as you can, without causing yourself strain, before lowering and releasing your breath five seconds later.

This loosens up the shoulder blades and encourages flexibility in the body.


We run a variety of free healthy lifestyle programmes where you can learn more about warm up and cool down techniques before exercise. Choose where you live from ABL in your Area at the top of the page to see if we’re active in your area.

This year, we have partnered with Sports Tours International, as their Community Health and Wellbeing Partner! We will be at their upcoming races- UKFast City of Salford 10k on 9th September and JD Gyms City of Preston 10k on 30th September.

To find out more information visit the Sports Tours International website and get £5 off your entry if you want to sign up for the race using ABL5.