If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: Always stretch before a workout. Few people in Los Angeles actually do, though, because it takes up precious time that can be spent getting to your exercise routine. There is a new way, however, to combine stretching right into your workout. It’s called dynamic stretching, and research shows that it carries many benefits for the body.

Dynamic stretching uses movements and stretches to warm up certain muscle groups. Squats, lunges, and different types of rotations are transformed into stretches that prepare you for your workout. Unlike static stretching, dynamic stretching doesn’t involve holding a specific position for a period of time. It involves moving your body in a range of motion that gets you ready for your workout.

Dynamic stretching increases your blood flow, body temperature, and circulation. This gives your muscles the boost of oxygen they need to pump up your performance. Dynamic stretching improves power and agility, but it can also benefit the body by:

Reducing your risk of injury when used as part of a proper warm-up.
Increasing energy levels in ways that static stretching cannot.
Preparing your body for training sessions.
Improving mobility in both the short term and the long term.
Going beyond the muscle loosening power of static stretching to assist with high intensity exercises.
Improving blood flow and circulation even after the session ends.
If you’re used to a static stretching routine, or no stretching at all, start slow with dynamic stretching. It takes time for the body to adjust to new movements and physical activity. Having a firm grasp on technique and form can reduce your risk of injury. You can use dynamic stretching at any time during the day, but on days you exercise:

Aim for 5 to 10 minutes of dynamic stretching prior to your activity
Do another 5 to 10 minutes of stretching after your workout
When you aren’t hitting the gym in Los Angeles, plan to schedule at least 5 to 10 minutes of time for stretching. This can help improve flexibility and reduce muscle tightness and pain. Focus on the major areas of your body that help with mobility, such as your calves, hamstrings, hip flexors, and quadriceps. For upper-body relief, try moves that stretch the shoulders, neck, and lower back.

By using dynamic stretching techniques before and after your workout, you’ll increase your range of motion and reduce your risk of injuries. This will help you enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle. Dynamic stretching is a great way to improve flexibility, which everybody in Los Angeles can benefit from.

Try taking a few minutes at the end of each day to do some dynamic stretching. It’s the perfect way to help you slow down, calm your mind, and prepare you for a good night’s sleep. Start stretching your way to good health today.