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Why You May Not Need to Stretch Before Exercise

5 years ago345 views

GeoBeats

Geo Beats

For decades, we’ve been told stretching before exercise is critical, but recent research shows it can actually put you at risk for injury and lower performance. Best benefits are achieved when stretching after working out.

Stretching feels good, so it must be good for you, right? Well, yes...and no. For decades, we’ve been told stretching before exercise is critical.

But YMCA’s Monica Schick says “Recent research has shown that static stretching - holding onto a muscle in an elongated, fixed position - could be detrimental to performance…and actually increases the risk of injury.” The muscle tears when stretched and needs time to heal.

The problem is stretching is often confused with warming up muscles through activities like walking or slowly performing other motions you are about to do. These activities get the heart rate up, prepare the body for more intense activity, and help you avoid post-workout soreness.

So, the general rule is warm up before a workout and stretch afterwards. Stretching afterwards will increase range of motion for daily activities, improve posture and balance, and prevent injury.

The University of Florida Sports Performance Center’s website states one exception: “static stretching may be used as part of a warm-up prior to exercise requiring strength, power or speed-related tasks.”

So while the general rule will work for most, evaluate your individual goals and needs to determine when and how you incorporate stretching into your exercise routine.

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