If you are about to stretch those leg muscles before that morning hike then please STOP! This article is going to present to you the actual benefits of stretching before exercise, after which you can decide whether to continue with that stretch. Recent studies show that stretching is not providing the benefits that we thought we are getting before an exercise or a workout. Do you still remember the advice to stretch the muscles before exertion to avoid injury? Well, it is now a thing of the past and must be corrected.
Here are some of the stretching-before-exercise benefits MYTHS.
MYTH #1: STRETCHING BEFORE WORKOUT PREVENTS INJURY
Once upon a time, stretching before workout or exercise was considered essential to prepare the body and decrease the possibility of injury. A recent study now shows that people who stretch before their exercise routines are not exempted from the danger of pulled muscles. This means that the number of stretches you have made will not determine your exemption from possible injury during a workout.
MYTH #2: STRETCHING BEFORE WORKOUT BOOSTS THE EFFECTS OF WARM UP
It is true that warming up is essential before working out in order to prepare your body for the action. Changes in body temperature, heart rate, and breathing prompt you to start up. The drawback comes in when you actually STOP warming up in order to stretch, just as we are instructed to do. So, instead of actually prepping up, your heart rate goes back to its original resting state hence undermining the warm up. Clearly, stopping to stretch after a warm-up defies the purpose of warming up.
MYTH #3: STRETCHING IS WARMING UP
It is easy to get confused with these two terms. Warming up consists of doing a lighter activity with more or less the same movement but lesser intensity on the main activity. An example would be walking before running and slow cycling before biking. These activities quality for warm up and prepare the body for higher demands. Stretching is merely lengthening the muscles and does not do a major change in body temperature, circulation, and respiration to set up the body for the major activity.
Well, stretching is not actually that bad and it is still a part of the whole workout routine. You must stretch at the end of the workout after the cool down. The body is returning to its normal state and stretching at this point is a great feel good routine after the workout.
Remember, proper warm up and stretching after cool down help you maximize the benefits that you could get from your exercise routine.
Doing your exercise is a good part of the whole healthy lifestyle plan. You must also include healthy diet plans, supplementation and a positive outlook on life for a complete mind and body wellness workout.
BU Today. (2016). Stretch Before Exercise? Not So Fast. | BU Today | Boston University. [online] Available at: http://www.bu.edu/today/2015/stretch-before-exercise-not-so-fast/ [Accessed 26 Apr. 2016].
SparkPeople. (2016). 4 Reasons to Stop Stretching Before You Exercise. [online] Available at: http://www.sparkpeople.com/blog/blog.asp?post=4_reasons_to_stop_stretching_before_you_exercise [Accessed 26 Apr. 2016].
Nhs.uk. (2016). Do I need to stretch before exercising?. [online] Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/Do-I-need-to-stretch-before-or-after-a-run-or-sports-and-exercise.aspx [Accessed 26 Apr. 2016].