Stretching is an instinctive activity. People often stretch after long periods of inactivity, like when we wake up, or after prolonged sitting.
Here are 5 Benefits of Stretching
- Improve flexibility and range of motion of joints
- Improve posture – tight muscles can affect your alignment
- Reduce risk of injury
- Reduce muscle soreness post exercise
- Improve blood circulation
So should I stretch before exercise?
Active movement is more beneficial for warming up than static stretching. Stretching is believed to be more beneficial after activity as a cool down to minimise post exercise soreness.
QUICK TIPS when warming up
- Keep it relevant – Try to perform lower intensity exercises that mimic the type of exercise you are about to partake in i.e. light jog, single leg hops, lunges, squats are all good warm up options to warm up your leg muscles if your sport involves running. If your activity involves upper body warm up your shoulders, back and chest muscles a combination of push ups and use of exercise bands.
- Get your heart rate up! - Slowly and gradually build up the intensity and perform dynamic exercises to get your heart pumping. This will increase blood flow to the working muscles and may reduce the risk of injury.
One of the biggest mistakes we all make is the belief that when a muscle feels “tight” - we must stretch it. There are 3 other reasons why your muscle may feel “tight” and why you shouldn’t stretch it but instead strengthen it. We will discuss these further in next month’s newsletter.
Doctor’s orders: perform active movements for your warm up and finish off with stretching when cooling down.
Yours in health and wellness,
Dr. Ali Abdo