Morton runners stretch before the Highland Invitational (copy)

Morton High School runners stretch before a past Highland Invitational cross country meet.

Jonathan Miano, file, The Times

Is it more important to stretch before or after you workout?

Local experts recommend doing both.

But Chris Rudenga, an exercise specialist and personal trainer at Community Hospital Fitness Pointe in Munster, noted that the type of stretching should differ depending on when you're doing it.

He suggests dynamic stretching — hip circles, walking lunges, butt kicks, arm circles — before exercise. Conversely, he recommends static stretching — holding a stretch for 20 to 30 seconds, mixed in with light walking and foam rolling — after a workout.

"This will help increase circulation and lower heart rate slowly and even reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness," he said.

Jane Bogordos, exercise physiologist and wellness supervisor at Franciscan Health Fitness Centers in Schererville, said pre-workout stretching prepares the body for exercise by bringing fresh blood to the muscles, tendons and ligaments. 

"Especially if you are exercising right after waking up or if you have been sedentary during the day, your muscles are going to be tight," she said.

Stretching after you workout helps improve range of motion and properly cool down the body, she said.

Do you have a health- or fitness-related question? The Times will get it answered for you. Email it to health reporter Giles Bruce at giles.bruce@nwi.com or call (219) 853-2584.

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Giles is the health reporter for The Times, covering the business of health care as well as consumer and public health. He previously wrote about health for the Lawrence (Kansas) Journal-World. He is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.