Two age old fitness questions are:
When to STRETCH?
Should You Stretch Before or After Exercise?
It's 20 years ago or so, and we're in our Junior High & High School Physical Education Classes where our top classmates would lead us in stretches we more than likely did incorrectly and ultimately caused more harm than good.
But what our PE teachers didnt know or don't realize is that stretching before exercise doesn’t necessarily prevent injury, curb post workout soreness, or improve your performance.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, but when to stretch and the type of stretching you do is more complicated and will be unique and different for each of us!
Myth 1: The best time to stretch is after exercise, when your muscles are warm.
Answer: True and false
It’s safer to stretch a warm muscle, and warm muscles are more relaxed and have greater range of motion. However, walking briskly or jogging for five minutes, until you break a light sweat, is a sufficient warm-up for stretching. In a perfect world, you’ll stretch a few minutes into and after your workout.
Myth 2: There’s only one “right” way to stretch.
There are LOTS of ways to stretch! Some of the most common are listed below. There’s static, active, proprioceptive stretching, and ballistic or dynamic
Stretching should be uncomfortable.
So wrong! if stretching is painful, you’re going too far & missing the points! Focus on moving into the stretch and stop when you feel tension. Don’t forget to breath. Breath deeply while you hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Then relax & repeat the stretch, trying to move a little bit further into it during the second stretch but don’t force the stretch.
You should hold a stretch for at least 15 seconds.
Most experts suggest holding a stretch for 15 to 30 seconds is sufficient.