Whether you want to start incorporating more exercise into your routine or keep up your momentum, stretching after a workout should be part of everyone’s exercise regime. You might be thinking, “Shouldn’t I stretch before I exercise?” We are going to explain why you should stretch after your workout! Here are 4 things you should know about stretching after a workout:
1. Improves Flexibility
The main functionality of stretching is to improve your flexibility, or how far you can move, bend, and stretch. Gymnasts and ballet dancers stretch before and after they train and perform. Their flexibility must be perfect for the types of movements and positions they have to do in their craft. While many athletes and runners don’t need as much flexibility as a dancer or a gymnast would, you do need some flexibility. If you are not flexible, you are more susceptible to muscle strain injury. You will get increased range of movement by stretching after a workout.
2. Multiple Types of Stretches
Did you know there are multiple types of stretches? Not all stretches are the same, and they serve different purposes. A static stretch pushes the muscle to a mild place of discomfort, and then you hold the position for 30 seconds, such as a toe touch. A dynamic stretch is when you perform repetitive movements to increase range of movement while still maintaining a normal range of motion, such as arm swings. Ballistic stretches require you to bounce in place while performing a stretch to increase range of movement.
3. Warming Up vs. Stretching
There’s a difference between stretching and warming up. Before you exercise, you should warm up your muscles, while you should wait until after to stretch your muscles. This may be confusing since many sources have said you should stretch before exercising. Research has been done on this subject, and experts have found that warming up prepares your body better than stretching does. When you warm up, it loosens the muscles and increases your body temperature, which is what you need before you exercise. Once you’ve worked out, your muscles are in a relaxed state and are able to stretch farther, making this the best time to improve flexibility.
4. Stretching Myths
Many experts have done research on stretching in relation to exercise. We’ve learned that stretching reduces the risk of injury, gets your muscles ready for working out, and reduces soreness. Here are some facts you may not know:
- Stretching before you work out weakens your muscles but can improve range of motion.
- Stretching does not necessarily prevent injuries.
- There’s no evidence that stretching before you work out reduces soreness.
Now you know you should save stretching until after a workout! We hope this information will help you continue to exercise when you start exercising. Want to know more about us here at Mac’s Pharmacy? Read our story to find out more about our services and what we do for our community.