Stretching can be one of the very best tools for helping you achieve your goals in your fitness training program. Not only does stretching feel good it also has many side benefits. One such benefit of stretching is that it helps circulate blood and oxygen to the joints keeping them supple and healthy. The blood itself carries nutrients and vitamins to muscles so they can heal and rebuild. Stretching also flushes the body of toxins and lactic acid that create trigger points (knots) that bind muscle fibers together, preventing the muscle from functioning at its maximum potential. If you don't have sufficient flexibility in your back, hips and glutes, you may develop poor form which can lead to injury. In my experience as a Personal Trainer and Athletic coach stretching, done properly, can be a very useful part of your warm up routine. It is, however, always important to listen to your body when stretching and it should never be painful. In general, when adding stretching into your routine, whether it be sport specific or weight training related, you need to be sure that you are stretching the appropriate muscles to advance your activity and not to over stretch. Overstretching, or not stretching properly, is, arguably, as bad as not stretching at all depending of course on your existing level of fitness. As your personal trainer I can assess where your muscles are most tight and from there devise a flexibility plan for you. Such a plan includes how long you should hold stretches and how many repetitions you should do. Proper stretching can lengthen those tight muscles preventing injury allowing you to enjoy your chosen hobby or sport. Make regular stretching a goal for your new year! Be sure to have a flexibility component in your training and you will be amazed at the gains you will receive from just 10-30mins of flexibility training.