TO STRETCH OR NOT TO STRETCH BEFORE YOUR WORKOUT?0
So you’re all dressed. You strap on your shoes and head out to begin your workout. You’ve heard people say that you need to stretch before you start; loosen up those joints and warm up your body.
So you do the routine stretch. I mean, who wants a workout inflicted injury after all?
Or. You don’t do the routine stretch. I mean, have you ever really heard of someone suffering from a workout inflicted injury?
Either ways, IT DOES NOT MATTER.
Studies have shown that a pre-workout stretch has whatsoever no positive effects on the ensuing workout. This so happens, because at all times, the body is ready to take up a gradual strain on its muscles.
Think of it this way; if your friend runs away with your favorite ice cream, you will run it out to as far as he goes, just to get it back. Cardio, eh? But there wasn’t a warm up stretch! Did you injure yourself? Fatigue maybe, but never has an injury been reported due to lack of pre-workout stretching. True, injuries will definitely make way if you practice a bad form, but not due to a lack of pre-run stretch.
That being said, even though a stretch is not required before a workout, a light warm-up is crucial. Something along the lines of free body squats or a soft jog will suffice just fine! Moreover, the Anderson study (2005) and another in 2011 showed that a stretch before lifting weights reduced the muscle efficiency by 5-20%
Now, a post workout stretch is an entirely different matter! As you approach the end of your workout, lactic acid will start accumulating near the joints that are targeted in the session. Yes, this lactic acid is the same culprit, thanks to which you feel the burn in your muscle and almost give up on the last few reps. Oh but, it is also the same lactic acid that is the result of a mechanism that produces energy by burning your fat and building up the muscle. So, definitely, Thankyou lactic acid!
Coming back to stretching, post your workout, this acid needs to be dissipated in the body, it needs to be spread out. That’s where your stretching comes into the picture. When you stretch, you increase the blood flow and cause faster ‘vanishing’ of the acid. Even though stretching seems to have no role in preventing muscle soreness, it helps in flexibility and keeping your muscle motion free.
You wouldn’t want to be a person with incredible strength in all limbs but limited degree of motion, right? Where’s the fun in throwing that ball very hard but not swinging your arm well enough!
A post workout stretch also helps relieve tension in the muscles so that you can walk out of the gym stable on your feet. Moreover, it acts as the cool down time for the body since it is more prone to injuries in a heated up state immediately after the workout.
However, care needs to be taken that the stretches aren’t too forced or painful because they might then push force into a muscle group that isn’t warmed up enough. Now that, folks, can definitely cause an injury!
All studies and facts aside, fitness is majorly to keep YOU happy. So if you want to go ahead with that stretch before you start just because it makes you feel good, there shouldn’t be a single article that can make you do otherwise. Just make sure you don’t cause any harm to your body.
Listen to what your body wants, become pals with it.
Nothing can make you happier than knowing that your body appreciates you for it!