It is very beneficial to have a stretching routine or to do a couple of stretches throughout the day. But there is a time when you should avoid stretching. The time I am talking about is right before a workout. Many people would think that stretching before a workout is the best way to prevent exercise related injury.
In reality, the best way to prevent an exercise related injury is to warm up beforehand, not stretch. Doing static stretches while the muscles are still cold can actually cause your muscles to tighten instead of loosen up. Stretching should be done after a workout, and here’s the main reason why:
>>Your muscles have been constantly contracting during the workout and are in a shortened state. Stretching helps bring your muscles back to their natural state, which can help reduce stiffness and cramping.
Stretching has other benefits too! Here are some reasons why you should stretch after a workout and throughout the day if possible-
- Increased Flexibility- As we age, our flexibility gradually decreases. Stretching daily can counteract this. Having increased flexibility will make your joints, muscles, and tendons less susceptible to injuries.
- Increased Range of Motion- Having an increased range of motion in your joints reduces stiffness and will also make you less susceptible to injuries.
- Increased Blood Flow- More blood flow = more nutrients circulating throughout the body. This is beneficial after a workout because it allows nutrients to get to the muscles quicker.
- Reduced Stress- Stretching releases endorphins that help us manage our stress levels.
To recap, avoid stretching right before a workout. Stretching is very beneficial to the body, but there is a time and a place for everything. It should be done either after a workout or at times when you are not about to workout.
If you aren’t stretching, now is the time to start! Take a few minutes out of your day to stretch right after your workout. Your body will thank you the next day and your joints will be thanking you for the rest of your life.