Does Stretching Matter Before Or After Exercise?

From bodybuilders, athletes to fitness influencers, stretching has always been the most common practice before exercising. But how often you should do it, or is this really a great thing to do before getting into your exercising session. Here’s a helpful discussion on it.

Why Stretching?

Stretching improves body flexibility and ensures a person could continue intense gym exercises or athletic activities for long hours. A moderate stretching enhances the ability of joints to move and work smoothly at their full degree of motion.

To simply put, you can twist, bend and use your joints flexibly, which supports swift body movements when running, walking or carrying out intense exercising. 

What Happens when you Stretch?

Even though athletes and fitness trainers recommend stretching, still the exact reason behind this fact is subject to debate. Scientists and doctors claim that stretching is a crucial attribute to make the body flexible and supple. Regular stretching may even provide you rid of many body issues, and you may observe changes once you continue stretching exercises steadily for a few weeks.

According to health experts, when your body stretches, the blood flow increases in the targeted muscle area. Heart pumps more blood to the muscles, and owing to this, the blood vessels around the muscle area expand.

In a nutshell, it elevates the blood circulation in the body, and joints movements and body posture are also improved. Moreover, this even prevents the body from any internal injury, making it highly important for athletes.

Stretching and Performance

According to research carried out at Nebraska Wesleyan University in 2009, it has been seen that flexible runners can run faster and more flexibly than runners with tight hamstrings, which usually happens when a person doesn’t stretch. Muscles are more likely to stick if a person doesn’t stretch them frequently. This may lead to tightening down of muscles that may create pulling and twisting joints quite painful in most events.

Older people are more prone to such issues because when people age, they stop exercising or never follow any workout routine throughout their lifetime. Therefore, as soon as you find your nearer or dearer one is facing an issue with body performance, advise them to stretch to stay healthy. 

Warm-up Vs Stretching

Most people often get confused between warm-up and stretching. It is due to a lack of proper awareness regarding both subjects. However, researchers conclude that warming up itself doesn’t contribute any significant benefit to the body.

At the same time, if the warm-up is carried out along with stretching, this may lead to health improvement. Apart from that, there is a long-lived misconception regarding stretching that helps one recover from injury.

In the context of this fact, health experts say that stretching alone may not be that effective to deal with an injury, but a warm-up together with stretching may prevent injuries. Therefore, athletes are often recommended to balance the warm-up and stretch time gradually.

Yet, there is an underlying concern that for how long stretching and warm-up should be practiced.

In light of this concern, experts say that the frequency may vary depending upon an individual’s athletic personality and health.

If you’re just a beginner, you may feel more stress on your muscles. Therefore, avoid going in excess. Initially, only choose light stretching and warm-up, else problems may arrive. You may stretch your body and muscles for 30 to 60 seconds, but you may continue for long intervals if you are an athlete. 

Stretching After Exercising

There is some limited evidence that claims why one should stretch their body after exercising. Still, it solely depends upon an individual and its varying physical activities.

After going through an intense gym session, one should relax their body. During intense exercises, the muscles stretch and collapse. Therefore, don’t put acute pressure on your body at the same time. Give it some rest and stretch your arms, legs, and other body parts.

A post-exercise may help you slow down the heart rate and breathing. The body and mind both feel relax and comfortable. To simply put, stretching after exercising can be a great thing to do, but without putting excessive stress on muscles. Else, instead of relaxing, you may go through acute pain which can be intolerable.

The Bottom Line: Does Stretching Matter Before Or After Exercise?

In the end, it is clearly visible that stretching may boost body performance even before or after performing an exercise. It means a lot to not just athletic but every person who loves his/her life. If you, your mother/father, or grandparents aren’t used to daily stretching and warm-up exercises, problems may arrive. It is a mantra of living a healthy and happy life. So make sure you remember it and turn your life more pleasurable than ever before.

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