Is your body ready for summer? Join a live Web chat with fitness expert Denise Austin on Monday, April 18, at 11 a.m. Pacific time (1 p.m. Central, 2 p.m. Eastern) about how to get in shape for swimming, surfing, hiking or just enjoying the great outdoors. We asked Austin how she incorporates stretching into her workouts. Stretching isn't everyone's favorite activity, but it can improve flexibility, making it easier to do everyday tasks.
"Stretching can be done anytime, anywhere," she says. "We should all stretch at least five minutes per day, but a little longer would be better. I stretch for a couple of minutes in the morning to get the circulation going, after my 30-minute workout. The muscles are already warmed up so it's better for increased flexibility.
"After that I bend and stretch throughout the day for more energy and to release tension when sitting at the computer. A quick stretch that's good for posture and keeps the back healthy is to raise both arms up over your head and lift your rib cage off your hips, giving space for each vetebrae. Bend to the left, then to the right. I even stretch in the evening with my family while watching our favorite TV shows."