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Stretching relieves stiff muscles and can boost flexibility in the elderly and inactive, but experts are divided on how vital it is for general fitness and preventing injury.For older adults who lose flexibility through aging, stretching can improve a range of motion and can make it easier to do everyday tasks such as reaching for items on high shelves.Dr. Mike Bracko, an exercise physiologist with the American College of Sports Medicine, said research indicates that static stretching, which involves holding a stretch for 30 to 60 seconds, does not reduce injury and actually makes the muscle weaker.Stretch Zone Inc., which was founded in 2004, specializes in practitioner-assisted stretches that are activity-specific and dynamic.The American College of Sports Medicine recommends adults train for flexibility at least twice a week.
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