Stretching is a critical part of any exercise or weight training programme because of the role it plays in enhancing performance, lessening injuries and improving breathing to name a few of the benefits.Â Yet,Â stretching is one of the most misunderstood exercises which if misapplied can do more harm than good.
First off, there are so many types of stretching that if I were to list themÂ all you might become confused so I will restrict the types of stretches to the two most popular: dynamic and static stretching.Â Knowing the difference is important to avoid injury.Â In fact, the risk of injury is the reason for some to advocate against stretching before exercise.
So what’s the truth?Â Well, let’s first take a look at the purpose of stretching.Â We stretch to loosen muscle fibers that have been made tight through exercise.Â Exercise cause our muscles to contract and if we don’t loosen them afterwards injury, pain and soreness might result hence why stretching is a necessity after exercise.Â This is where static stretching comes in where you basically pull on a muscle and hold it for 30 to 60 seconds.
The problem is that to lengthen or relax a muscle through stretching before a strenuous activity like running or lifting weights is potentially damagingÂ to your muscles.Â Strenuous activities require your muscles to contract and for tension to be placed upon your muscles in a relaxed state canÂ result inÂ injury.Â Hence, the utility of dynamic stretching which as the name suggests is stretching in a moving state.Â You see athletes doing dynamic stretches before a race.
There is so much more to stretching than meets the eye that I would suggest doing your own study on the subject area for your own benefit.Â If you don’t stretch then start doing so now first and foremost for your ability to lessen the instances of soreness, pain and injury as well as the innumerable health benefits.
[box type=”important”]Remember, do static stretching after exercise and dynamic stretching before.[/box]
Chris Brown blogs at www.gainbuildmuscle.com.