Why You Should Stretch Before Exercise
We need to take care of our bodies to ensure better overall health. If you feel there’s something off with your body, you need to consult a doctor immediately. Meanwhile, it is also a good idea to visit chiropractic clinics in Salt Lake City if you have been enduring your back pain and stiff joints for some time now. You will surely feel the difference after a few sessions with a licensed chiropractor.
You might have noticed how athletes do some stretching exercises before engaging in their own sports activities. You might also be advised to do some warm-up stretches before stepping on the treadmill or lifting weights in the gym. But just how important stretching is before doing any physical activity?
Types of stretching activities
First of all, you need to be familiar with the different types of stretching: static stretches, dynamic stretches, bouncing stretches, and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF).
The static stretch involves stretching your muscles until you feel slight pain or discomfort. When doing this kind of a stretch, you need to hold it in place for at least 30 seconds or so. Dynamic stretches, on the other hand, involves performing a series of repetitive motions like hip twisting or arm swings.
Meanwhile, a bouncing or ballistic stretches involve performing bouncing motions as part of one’s warm-up exercises. Lastly, PNF refers to the method of holding the stretching movement in place while your muscles contract and relax sequentially.
The benefits of stretching
Sports experts and elite athletes often do stretching as part of their warm-up exercise. It is said that stretching helps in improving one’s flexibility. It can help prevent muscle cramps as stretching apparently can “awaken” the muscles and further improve one’s athletic performance.
The amount of stretching exercises varies, depending on the physical activity you are about to do. For example, gymnasts require frequent stretching exercises to make them more flexible enough to perform gymnastics routines with ease.
Meanwhile, runners also need to stretch before sprinting to reach their target mileage. However, their stretching requirements differ from those of gymnasts. Unlike gymnasts, runners need not stretch too much as it can affect their performance. The same thing applies to basketball and football players.
Nonetheless, stretching can help in warming up and improve your overall physical performance. However, the decision to do some stretching exercises depends on your overall fitness objective. For example, experts advise against stretching before any intense physical activity to reduce the risk of injuries.
In such cases, you might want to do some light aerobic exercises to warm up your muscles. Also, you must do some serious stretching if you are aiming to improve your range of motion and be more flexible in every physical movement later on.
Post-exercise stretching is another story, though. Like pre-workout or exercise stretching, post-exercise stretching can slow down your heart rate and make you feel more relaxed. Overall, stretching can be a matter of personal preference, so it’s up to you whether you stretch or not.