Ask students to define muscle or the muscular system. If students are having trouble defining the terms, ask students to describe the function of a muscle. What does a muscle help us do?

Brainstorm with students the meaning of flexible and the purpose of stretching. Explain that flexible means capable of being bent or twisted without being injured. Explain to students muscles must move to remain healthy and functional. When muscles are not used, they lose their ability to contract and perform as they were intended. They may become weak or they may become tight, and when eventually used, be painful. Stretching is significant because it provides a workout for your muscles and enables muscles to become flexible when doing physical activity.

Ask students when they should stretch. Stretching should be done before and after exercise also explain that it is good to stretch at any time of the day. Stretching can be done in the morning when you wake up, while you watch TV, during breaks at school or any other time. The more you stretch, the more flexible you will become.

Explain that students should stretch before doing a high-energy activity. High-energy activities work your muscles, and your muscles are more likely to get strained or injured when they are working hard. Stretching makes it easier for a person to bend and flex the body without sustaining an injury.

Review the benefits of stretching:

    1. Stretching makes muscles more flexible. Flexible muscles are less likely to become strained or injured.
    2. Being flexible increases agility which improves the performance. Physical activities that require bending and moving, like sports, dancing, martial arts and even everyday things like chores are better accomplished after becoming more flexible.
    3. Stretching helps to relieve stress. Stretching can reduce anxious and nervous feelings. Stretching and breathing helps with concentration and relaxation.
    4. Stretching uses energy from your body without causing sweat. Therefore, stretching is possible in any setting or environment, and can be done in any and all attire. Stretching does not require any special equipment and can be done for short or long periods of time.
    5. Stretching can make tight muscles feel better. If muscles are tight, light stretching can loosen them.

To cultivate interest in stretching, flexibility and muscle types, students will participate in a stretching routine and a scavenger hunt. Emphasize that stretching can be accomplished at anytime but it is important to stretch before and after physical activity and exercising.

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