Morning Express with Robin Meade

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Only time for one stretch? Make it this one

NEED TO KNOW
  • Chris Powell is a fitness trainer and host of TV's 'Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition'
  • Chris says it's important to warm up before exercising and to stretch after you've finished

If you're doing any kind of exercising in this new year, listen up! HLN's Robin Meade was in the gym with Chris Powell, fitness trainer and host of TV's "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition," and she got the skinny on warming up before you start exercising and stretching afterward.  

Chris says many people skip the warm-up before exercising and immediately start lifting heavy weights, which ultimately leads to injuries. He says what you want to do is get the blood flowing and everything moving before you start, and you can do that through simple movements, such as jogging or just walking in place.

Chris says he usually jogs in place for a while, and if that's a little too light for him and he wants to get more blood flowing, he adds some "high knees" to the routine. He'll do this for a minute or two, then he does some quick joint mobility by moving his arms and head around. Now it's time to exercise. 

Once you're finished exercising, Chris says it's important to stretch.

And if you only have time for one stretch, Chris suggests working on the hamstrings.  He says to bend one leg, extend the other leg out with the weight on the heel and the toe pointed up. Place your hands on the thigh, keeping the shoulders back and slowly lean into it, breaking at the hip until you feel a nice pull through the hamstring.

From there, Chris says a lot of people want to stretch the muscle -- but he says that is really forceful and you can risk injury. He says what you should do instead is inhale and flex the muscle -- then exhale and relax it. He says do that for about 20-30 seconds and switch sides. Watch the video to see Chris demonstrate these moves.

Keep reading for more ways to Live Better Now.

Morning Express with Robin Meade airs Monday through Friday at 6 a.m. ET on HLN.  Like the show on Facebook, follow on Twitter: @MorningExp.

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