|Pre and post-workout routines are key elements to excercise.
Q: I have heard mixed information, is it okay to stretch before I begin my exercise routine?
-D, Allen- Dove Canyon, CA
A: It is more important to warm up before you stretch and begin any exercise routine. Stretching, though often overlooked, plays a vital role in keeping muscles and joints strong and pliable so they are less susceptible to injury. That’s why it’s such an important part of warming up before physical activity and cooling down after.
Most people do not generally give stretching enough consideration. However, stretching reduces the chance of injury. Age stiffens and shortens our tendons and ligaments. The result is limited range of motion, bad posture and painful movements. Stretching can reverse these effects of aging. Exercise can also shorten range of motion. When a muscle is exercised, it becomes shortened and tight. Over a period of time, as the muscle gains strength, it stays in this tight and contracted form reducing range of motion.
Cold muscles should never be stretched. Always warm-up the muscles before stretching. Warm muscles and connective tissues are more pliable than cold ones. Stretching reduces the potential for injury by warming up and lengthening the muscles and connective tissue. Stretching after exercise reverses the tightening and shortening effect of exercise on the muscles and connective tissues. Stretching and strength increase together because when the muscle is lengthened is has a longer stroke to full contraction, therefore generating more work.
Stretching can also reduce tension. Spending a few minutes a day doing slow stretches can also help you manage stress more effectively giving you a chance to shut off outside stressors, and focus, physically and mentally, on your activity.
Good Rules to Follow:
- Warm up first: warm muscles, tendons, and ligaments are more flexible and stretch more easily; stretching cold muscles can cause tears.
- Stretches should always be gradual and gentle.
- Hold each stretch in a static position for 10 to 20 seconds, allowing the muscle to lengthen slowly.
- Do not bounce; bouncing actually causes muscle fibers to shorten, not lengthen.
- Stretch only to the point of resistance; if the stretch hurts, you´re pushing too hard.
- Don´t rush through the stretching routine; use it to prepare yourself mentally and physically for activity.
949.292.1799 | 30555 Trabuco Canyon Rd. # 101, Trabuco Canyon, CA www.ShawnsStudioFitness.com