The athletics and science worlds have long debated about when it is best to stretch. Is it before or after working out? The answer to this question depends on various factors like your type of exercise, body type, and more.
While the argument continues, understand that stretching is important as it is proven to have great benefits. This article will help you learn the following:
- Why stretching is important.
- Stretching before and after working out.
- Other ways of relieving your body of injury and soreness.
What Does Stretching Do?
Stretching allows your muscles to stay strong, healthy, and flexible. Lack of it reduces your range of motion because the muscles are tight and short. By stretching out, your body temperature rises, and muscles loosen, allowing you to be ready for a workout session.
Your blood flow is also bound to increase when you stretch, and your muscles become less sore, especially after working out. It also helps you to be more flexible, thereby improving how you perform in your physical activities.
If you’re injured, stretching can also be part of your rehabilitation program. Research has found that people with acute plantar fasciitis (a painful underfoot) get better results when they stretch than those who go for shockwave therapy.
Stretching is dynamic. Therefore, different workouts call for different types of stretches. For instance, swimmers will want to swing their arms, and soccer players would prefer making walking lunges. For stretching to be effective, focus on the muscles responsible for your general movement.
Stretching Before Exercise
Before starting to work out, your body is cool and your muscles tight. This is why it’s best to loosen them with warm-ups and stretches before working out. However, the stretches should be done in moderation to help you ease into your workout regime.
If you have been at work all day, then went straight to work out in the evening, your muscles can be at risk of getting injured. This is why moderate warm-ups and stretches make your time at the gym much easier.
If you do a lot of warm-ups and stretches, you may fail to meet your gym goals. Your body may start to get tired instead of getting motivated to do the actual physical activity you want.
Stretching After Exercise
After working out, your body is warm, and your muscles are ready to stretch out. Don’t look at this as another tedious exercise because you will be in much better shape after stretching. In this case, stretching after working out will allow your muscles to return to the pre-workout state.
Post work out stretches increase your flexibility and performance of daily activities. It reduces the soreness from intensive exercise, and your joints can move in a full range of motion. Your blood flow increases, and your muscles work optimally.
You must also be careful not to overdo post-workout stretches as your muscles can be injured. Focus on muscle groups such as the shoulders, hips, thighs, neck, lower back, and others. Ensure that you stretch joints and muscles regularly since it takes time for flexibility to improve.
Other Ways To Avoid Soreness or Injury
Stretching (though important) is not the only way you can reduce soreness or injury after working out.
You should also include a healthy diet rich in nutrients for your body to heal and build muscle. Such include protein, carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. Allow periods of rest for your muscles to reconstruct and grow.
When you rest, you get better sleep, improved performance, less fatigue, and minimal muscle injuries. To rest better, consider Nolah Evolution Mattress for excellent pressure relief and targeted back support.
Ensure that you sit straight up for a better posture and a stronger core. This is because, at the right posture, your body reduces any excess pressure on muscles and joints. Bad posture is a common cause of lower back pain in many people.
You must also hydrate regardless of your physical activity level for better performance and safety. Ensure that you keep hydrated in pre- and post-workout sessions, as it increases your aerobic capacity. Do not overhydrate, as it can bring adverse effects on your health.
Stretch For Better Health Effects
Stretching is an important part of both a pre and post work out regime. The type of stretches may depend on the kind of physical activity you are doing. Other than stretching, ensure that you rest enough and eat a healthy diet. Don’t forget to hydrate before and after working out to stay at peak performance.